Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Book Review: Talking to Spirits by Sterling Moon

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Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

As a hedge witch, part of my practice includes communicating with spirits, especially those found within the Otherworld. When I was presented with the opportunity to review Talking to Spirits: A Modern Medium's Practical Advice for Spirit Communication by Sterling Moon I knew I had to take it. Talking to Spirits is a step-by-step introductory guide to communicating with spirits using various methods. The tone is conversational and includes many personal stories from Moon's 10+ years of experience, making the text easy to read and relatable.

The book begins with a brief introduction to mediumship and how to keep a detailed journal of your experiences, ethics, and essential ideology. There are numerous journal prompts throughout the book to guide you in your practice. If utilized to their fullest, these questions can help guide you on your journey and enhance your knowledge and understanding of spirit communication. I'm not one to go through with journal prompts while reading a book for review, but I can tell you, this is certainly a book I will come back to in the future.

The following three chapters discuss different types of spirits, both positive and negative, including ancestors, shadow people, deities, and elementals. The first of these spirit types chapters discusses spirits of the dead, including your ancestors. Moon recognizes that not all of us know or have a connection with our ancestors, and reminds the reader that even if you don't know them, they know you. Most of us have never met our great-grandparents, and if we did, we have no working memory of them, let alone anyone past them in our family tree. If you are adopted or estranged from your family, this can make it even more difficult but know that while you may not know them personally, they are there to help support and guide you in this life. Understanding that you can still work with your ancestors, even if you don't know them, is important, whether you are wishing to communicate with them or ask for their assistance in your spiritual practice. Moon also offers suggestions on working with problematic ancestors, suggesting that all souls have "homework" when they pass on to reach their highest self. What needs to be mentioned, however, is that you still don't have to work with them. The entire book is extremely inclusive and mindful of different situations, so I was taken aback that Moon didn't take a firm stance on encouraging the reader to do what's best for their well-being. There are ancestors I absolutely will not work with. They are not welcome in my home or life, no matter how much "homework" they have done in the afterlife. I cannot trust them to respect me and my boundaries, so I don't invite them in. You don't have to either. With this in mind, however, Moon does offer a number of grounding meditations and practices to use before and after approaching difficult subjects to ensure you are safe, mentally and physically, which I thoroughly enjoyed. While these are meant to be used during your mediumship practice, they can be used to support you in any difficult life situation.

Following her discussion of ancestors, is a chapter on deities. Moon makes it understood that cultural appropriation of deities has no place in mediumship and that ignoring the cultural significance of deities associated with the Otherworld, death, and spirit communication is narrowminded and disrespectful. Does that mean you can't work with deities outside your culture? Not necessarily. When in doubt, learn from those within the culture, especially storytellers, be respectful, and never insist that a deity (or spirit for that matter) works with you. Sometimes we do everything right and a spirit still doesn't wish to work with us. That's okay. There are plenty of other options out there for you.

The last few chapters cover step-by-step how to contact spirits safely and effectively, how to troubleshoot common issues, decern whether or not a spirit is being truthful, how to rid yourself of unwanted spirits, and red flags to look out for in the professional community. Moon even provides options for solo, group, and virtual sessions, which is great for those with anxiety, mobility concerns, or who simply can't travel the distance to meet in person. Moon also explains that while she has given her readers as much knowledge as she can, you can't learn everything from a book. Mediumship and spirit communication requires constant practice and troubleshooting, and even then that doesn't make you an expert. She suggests that if you ever reach a point where you need assistance, not to hesitate. Seek professional guidance and assistance when needed. There is no shame in asking for help, and I couldn't agree with Moon more. Spirit communication is tricky, and even those of us who have been doing it for years need help sometimes. These chapters also include a complete list of tools, both traditional and modern, that can be used to communicate with spirits. There is some slight hinting that using a spirit, talking, or Ouiji board is "bad" which was disappointing, and the warning she places on spirit boards should also be included on pendulums, tarot cards, scrying mirrors, and any other form of divination because they too open the door for communication.

Overall, I highly recommend Talking to Spirits to those interested in learning more about communicating with spirits and mediumship. This book is an excellent introduction to the topic for an experienced witch (there is some assumption that you have a basic knowledge and understanding of witchcraft). Talking to Spirits: A Modern Medium's Practical Advice for Spirit Communication by Sterling Moon will be available on February 8, 2023. You can preorder your copy now wherever books are sold.

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