Author: Maria Kay Simms
Trade Paperback, 304 pages
Publisher: Starcrafts Publishing
Publication date: 2004
Amazon Price & Info: Click Here
As most readers have probably noticed, I haven't reviewed many books since my marriage to LyricFox. Marriage and the growth of The Cauldron have really cut into my time for reading and reviewing. However, when asked to review a copy of Moon Tides, Soul Passages by Maria Kay Simms, I had to say yes. Simms is a professional astrologer and one of the better eclectic Wiccan authors writing today. Unfortunately, her books are often ignored by eclectic Wiccans because they can seem at first glance to have more to do with astrology than with Wicca.
Of course, I get my hands on a copy of Moon Tides, Soul Passages: Your Astrological Cycles for Personal and Spiritual Development and quickly discover that is actually does have more to do with astrology than with Wicca -- especially if you judge by page count. This book deals with the moon and its cycles in astrology. While you would never know it from reading astrology columns in the paper, your moon sign is as important as your sun sign in astrology and the moon's cycles affect us all. Of course, that's still not going to get many Wiccans to pick up this book. However, if you have read Simms' The Witches Circle, you might expect some astrological-based Wiccan rituals. They are there. In fact, Wicca and Goddess spirituality are as central to the book as astrology -- to the point where non-Pagan readers may be a bit put off by it.
The book is about the moon in your astrological chart -- and comes with a CD-ROM Windows program that will generate all the information on the moon in your chart that you will need to use the book. The program is simple to install and use. It's nothing like the complex astrology programs I'm used to. The ones that scare off non-astrologers who try to use them. Once you have the one page printout from this program, you are ready to see what lunar-based astrology has to say about your life and spirituality. Simms writes clearly on this subject. While she has been a professional astrology most of her life, she has a knack for explaining astrological concepts in a way that is truly easy to understand without dumbing things down to the point where they are as useless as the astrology column in your newspaper.
While the last part of this book has mediations and rituals, Wicca thought and, more generally, goddess spirituality, is a part of this book from the very beginning. Various Goddesses are used to illustrate the qualities of the moon in various signs and houses, for example. The last two chapters, however, are what make this book a must buy for eclectic Wiccans with any interest in using astrology in ritual. Simms provides rituals for spiritually experiencing the cycles of the moon. There are rituals for lunar and solar eclipses as well as rituals for each of the eight phases of the moon. These rituals would be at home in the Book of Shadows of many of eclectic Wiccans I know.
I can't end this review without mentioning the full color plates of some of Simms' paintings. They are quite interesting. I'm especially fond of "Green Tara" on page 129. Simms style expresses emotion and feeling quite well. I understand, however, that some of the illos will be changing in the 2nd edition.
In summary, Moon Tides, Soul Passages explains the astrological influence of the moon and its cycles over our lives in a clear manner that is easy to comprehend and put to use. The book has a strong spiritual focus that will especially appeal to Wiccans and other Pagans who celebrates the cycles of the sun and the moon. While rituals are a minor part of the book by page count, those provided are quite well-written. My only strong complaints about this book are that the software only runs on Windows (not Linux or Mac OS) and the book is so focused on Wicca and Goddess spirituality that it may put off those following other religions who could benefit from the astrological information. While this book is especially recommended for Wiccans, anyone interested in understanding the astrological effect of the moon on their live will benefit from reading it.
Reviewed by Randall Sapphire