Lifestyle and Culture: Inspirational and Spiritual

The Art of Tarot

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A palm-sized visual history of tarot cards, from hand- painted Renaissance decks to the creations of modern artists like Salvador Dali.

Originally used by northern Italian aristocrats in complex games resembling bridge, tarot cards became more popular with the spread of printing in the sixteenth century and were eventually used by Freemasons, fortune-tellers, and mystics to reveal hidden truths about the past, present, and future. More recently, artists have used the imagery and potency of tarot as a springboard for creativity.

As a path to revelation or simply as a pastime, tarot is fascinating. A carefully curated selection of decks from the past six centuries—showing the chief turning points in their development—make this little book an indispensable guide to the history of tarot.

Christina Olsen, an art historian and museum director, wrote her PhD thesis on the history of tarot cards.

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The Complete Encyclopedia of Elves, Goblins, And Other Little Creatures

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This imaginatively illustrated and magical encyclopedia of elves, goblins, and other mysterious creatures that share our planet contains a delightful collection of folklore, histories and stories.

Note: Content may not be suitable for younger children (some adult topics, some nudity).

This giant, gorgeously illustrated encyclopedia documents the lives of elves, goblins, hobgoblins, gnomes, imps, pixies, and sprites with whimsy and wonder. The most extensive volume on the various types of little creatures and fairyfolk, The Complete Encyclopedia of Elves, Goblins and Other Little Creatures illustrates each unique species with charming, luminous, detailed drawings, and includes the folklore and fairy tales collected through extensive research.

The first half of this volume is devoted to the various species of elves, a species that has existed since the dawn of time. These creatures flourish in both the daytime and the nighttime, undoubtedly the most complex and mysterious species of the fairy world. Some of them are well-known like Sylphs, Selkies and Will-o’-the-Wisps, while other more obscure elves are revealed here for the first time.The second half leads us through a vast variety of the invisible and sometimes frightening creatures who haunt hollow and attic, forest and ocean. If you already knew about Goblins, Gnomes, Sprites, Imps, and Brownies, this book helps you discover dozens of regional and local varieties of magical creatures as well—some of them can even be found in your own attic or garden!

As a result of twenty years of patient research, the author, Pierre Dubois, has created portraits of hundreds of species. For each one, he wrote a tale starting from authentic anecdotes, spiced with spirited humor. An identification sheet presents the appearance of each variety, its morals, manners, and habits; its food and clothing; and the places and countries where they might be found. The illustrations of Roland Sabatier portray each strange and wonderful creature and the marvels and mysteries of the habitats they live in. An excellent book for a family, this encyclopedia will delight people of all ages—and all sizes.

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Sacred Landscape and Pilgrimage in Tibet

In Search of the Lost Kingdom of Bon

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Before Buddhism, there was Bön. This book is a fascinating journey, visually and spiritually, through western Tibet by a monk of the little-known Bön faith, who is searching for the lost, sacred Bön homeland of Zhangzhung.

Including a DVD of the Pilgrimage.

This spiritual adventure is the first book to document the living tradition of Bön. What makes this narrative so compelling is that the voice and perspective of Gelek, a young Bön monk, lends an intimacy and knowledge of Bön not found in religious texts.

According to the Tibetan calendar, 2002 was a holy year for pilgrimages, and in the holiest month of that year, Gelek set out from his monastery in Nepal with some hardy companions and photographer Thomas Kelly to travel to Kailash, a sacred mountain in western Tibet. He was also on a quest to seek out the long-vanished kingdom of Zhangzhung. At the end of the journey, Gelek finds little that resembles the Bön kingdom. He comes upon crumbling ruins that have all but reverted to their native dust and earth. From this experience Gelek understands that the essence of his faith is built not on these shifting sands but on the bedrock of the changeless Bön teachings.

This extraordinary trek is illustrated by 160 stunningly beautiful color photographs of the unknown landscapes, as well as travelers and local people. Accompanying the images is the authors’ vivid description of their journey, which is especially evocative as it includes translated excerpts from Gelek’s personal diary.

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Gardens of Revelation

Environments by Visionary Artists

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This lively international tour spans from the soaring spires of Watts towers in Los Angeles to the spirit-lifting Camel Yard and Owl House in New Bethesda, South Africa. 

With incisive intelligence and beguiling prose, John Beardsley tells the story of some twenty-five "visionary environments" and the fiercely independent individuals who created them. Beardsley also situates the work in the larger contexts of traditional garden design, religious architecture, environmental sculpture, and folk art. The thought-provoking text combines with dazzling views of the far-flung gardens to make this an inspiring volume.

 

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Spas

Exceptional Destinations Around the World

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A beautifully illustrated book featuring fabulous, healthy resorts across the globe.

This dream book of incredible places to be pampered and unwind unveils the world's twenty-five best vacation spas. Each is a traveler's haven set in a stunning location and surrounded by breathtaking scenery. And each one offers a memorable experience and, to varying degrees, a combination of indulgence, adventure, health, and relaxation. Some of these spas are life-changing, while others will rejuvenate you in the short term so that you can return to your normal life feeling refreshed and re-energized. Dip into these pages and visit the Beauty Farm in Megeve, France, where you can lie on a bed of warm rounded stones in a treatment cabin. There a therapist, using hot basalt pebbles, will ease your tense muscles. Or travel to the Himalayas, the ultimate destination spa, where the sights, smells, sounds, and therapies are probebly closer to what was practiced 5,000 years ago than anything else in the world today.

The spas featured range from exotic paridise retreats to alpine resorts, including the holistic sanctuary of Therme Vals in Switzerland. Set among the Graubunden Mountains, seven pools are offered from the steamy "fire" pool to a scented flower pool, each naturally formed by water springs. Inside there is a health center providing a combination of acupressure and massage using oils blended from twenty-two carat gold. In contrast, the Delphi Mountain Resort & Spa in Leenane, Ireland - a location so remote that the Romans never managed to reach it - offers the opportunity to spend your days cocooned in the spa or pursuing such rigorous activities as kayaking through sea caves or rock climbing on vast walls. Information about how to contact these spas is also provided. Whatever your preference: tropical paradise, mountainous retreats, thermal springs, or wilderness escapes, this book will help you find your perfect spa destination.

 

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Abayudaya

The Jews of Uganda

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Told with captivating images and haunting music, here is the remarkable story of a group of rural African people who converted to Judaism eighty years ago and, despite ensuing hardships, have stuck by their faith.

The 600 members of the Abayudaya (Children of Judah) community living in a remote area of eastern Uganda lead a life devoted to traditional Jewish practices. They observe the Sabbath and holidays, attend services, follow dietary laws, and cling tightly to traditions in their small mud and brick synagogues. Surrounded by Muslims and Christians, facing poverty and isolation, these people have maintained their Jewish way of life for four generations since the initial conversion of their tribal chief Semei Kukungulu in 1917. Even during Idi Amin's reign of terror, when synagogues were closed and prayers had to be held in secret, the Abayudaya did not abandon their beliefs.

Richard Sobol is the first photojournalist to document this newly discovered Jewish community's way of life and to relate their heroic story. His sensitive portraits and moving landscapes depict everyday life. He shows their day of rest on the Jewish Sabbath, as well as their religious celebrations and rituals. His intriguing text chronicles the story of this community from its conception to the present. The book includes a CD filled with powerful music and songs from services recorded by ethnomusicologist Jeffrey A. Summit, who has also provided an essay examining this unique mix of African and Jewish sounds.

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Zen Cats

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To delight cat lovers everywhere, here are more than 60 irresistible portraits of the Zenlike cats of Japan.

The embodiment of Zen--independent, serene, enlightened--these cats inhabit the temples, shrines, gardens, and parks of Japan. Photographer Yoshiyuki Yaginuma has captured these free spirits in many poses, from meditating in a garden and baring fangs in a hunting stance to frolicking with the family, perching on statues, and curling in repose.In Japan cats have always occupied a special place: the eternal symbol of good luck is a white cat with its paw raised, and ancient screens from centuries past are often graced with a cat. And in the rarified world of Buddhist and Shinto temples, cats have been welcomed for practical reasons. Since the monks eat rice and so do mice, there's more rice for the monks with cats regulating the population.

Fascinated by these Zen cats, Yaginuma regularly visits temples and other places where they reside, and he feels that the cats wait to greet him and his camera. Jana Martin's intriguing commentary discuss the cat in Japanese myth, folklore, and in Zen writings. She pairs the irresistible feline portraits with poems by generations of Zen disciples and monks, who do not assign any human quality to them but praise them for what they are. How perfectly Zenlike after all!

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Living Zen

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This inspirational and informative book places the ancient wisdom of Zen Buddhism in a modern, everyday context, showing how it can influence every aspect of our lives, from self-awareness to the aesthetics of home and garden.

Zen Buddhism is a spiritual practice that impacts how we view ourselves and one another, as well as our environment. It is an awakening of our senses that enables us to see the world from a different perspective. As a way of life, Zen is growing in popularity, and this book demystifies the age-old Zen tradition, explaining how an understanding of Zen can transform our lifestyle.

Michael Paul, who has practiced Zen Buddhism for over twenty-five years, covers many facets of the subject in his clearly written text, including the meaning of Zen, Zen living and practice for every day, and Zen art forms. He also covers Zen in the home, describing the lifestyle it evokes — clarity of expression and a bold way of decorating resulting in pared-down simplicity. Similarly in the garden there is a minimalist landscaping style using plants that provide not only color, but also shape and form. Supplementing the text are evocative color photographs, specially commissioned for this book, that convey the spirit Zen.

All those seeking simplicity, peace, and harmony in their lives and surroundings will find this book intriguing.

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I Like You Just the Way You Are

A Message of Friendship

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The Messages of Friendship books make ideal gifts for any occasion — from birthdays to anniversaries to graduations — or just to let a friend know how much you care.

Each volume in this irresistible series is devoted to a different aspect of friendship — comfort, sharing, trust, giving, caring, and joy. Twenty poignant messages, each paired with a beautifully chosen photograph, capture the essence of one facet of friendship.

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I Wish You All the Best

A Message of Friendship

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Each volume in this irresistible series is devoted to a different aspect of friendship — comfort, sharing, trust, giving, caring, and joy. Twenty poignant messages, each paired with a beautifully chosen photograph, capture the essence of one facet of friendship. The Messages of Friendship books make ideal gifts for any occasion — from birthdays to anniversaries to graduations — or just to let a friend know how much you care.

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Together We Can Do Anything

A Message of Friendship

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Each volume in this irresistible series is devoted to a different aspect of friendship &mdash comfort, sharing, trust, giving, caring, and joy.

Twenty poignant messages, each paired with a beautifully chosen photograph, capture the essence of one facet of friendship. The Messages of Friendship books make ideal gifts for any occasion — from birthdays to anniversaries to graduations — or just to let a friend know how much you care.

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Trust Yourself

A Message of Friendship

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Each volume in this irresistible series is devoted to a different aspect of friendship — comfort, sharing, trust, giving, caring, and joy.

Each volume in this irresistible series is devoted to a different aspect of friendship — comfort, sharing, trust, giving, caring, and joy. Twenty poignant messages, each paired with a beautifully chosen photograph, capture the essence of one facet of friendship. The Messages of Friendship books make ideal gifts for any occasion — from birthdays to anniversaries to graduations — or just to let a friend know how much you care.

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You Mean So Much to Me

A Message of Friendship

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Each volume in this irresistible series is devoted to a different aspect of friendship — comfort, sharing, trust, giving, caring, and joy.

Twenty poignant messages, each paired with a beautifully chosen photograph, capture the essence of one facet of friendship. The Messages of Friendship books make ideal gifts for any occasion — from birthdays to anniversaries to graduations — or just to let a friend know how much you care.

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Your Laughter Is Like Sunshine

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Each volume in this irresistible series is devoted to a different aspect of friendship — comfort, sharing, trust, giving, caring, and joy.

Twenty poignant messages, each paired with a beautifully chosen photograph, capture the essence of one facet of friendship. The Messages of Friendship books make ideal gifts for any occasion — from birthdays to anniversaries to graduations — or just to let a friend know how much you care.

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Home Spa

Recipes and Techniques to Restore and Refresh

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Whether you have five minutes or several days, this book has just the right recipe or technique for pampering yourself from head to toe.

Healthy, balanced living begins with the right attention to your body and mind. Although most of us know this is true, we ignore the need to treat ourselves well in the face of hectic schedules and daily responsibilities. Home Spa is a secret weapon against the drudgery of home and office routine, offering a variety of ways to relax and to look and feel better — from softening skin and removing toxins to improving circulation and lowering blood pressure.

By using simple, natural ingredients that are readily available it's possible to recreate easily and inexpensively the formulas and techniques found in luxurious spas. Sesame yogurt face masks, almond-and-honey moisturizers, and simple self-massages are only a few of the many recipes provided that you can use to revitalize yourself in your own home. By taking the time to take care of yourself, you can ease life's pressures, clear your minds, and create a new sense of calm.

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The Light's Way

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A beautifully illustrated tale of the power of light, which brings color and life not only into our visual world but also into the emotional realm of our hearts and minds.

The Light's Way is artist Judy Pelikan's wonderful companion to The Heart's Journey. In twelve original illustrations, Pelikan reveals the life-giving force of light by relating sunlight to color: without sunlight, our natural world is gray, consisting only of patterns, shapes, shadows, and at times, shadows.At the same time, The Light's Way shows how the nurturing inner light of the spirit has the power to make our lives colorful and blessed with happiness.

The Light's Way is an inspirational lesson that urges us, or someone we care about, to choose light and bring color, physically or emotionally, into the world.

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The Heart's Journey

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An inspiring tale of the resilience and triumph of the human heart.

The Heart’s Journey is a universal story of love, loss, and the growing process that leads to greater self-knowledge. The tale of a heart that encounters pain and suffering only to be healed by the power and security of love, this story transcends language and speaks directly to our emotions. Artist Judy Pelikan’s heartfelt and lovingly rendered illustrations depict the human heart’s strength and capacity for love so eloquently and persuasively that words are hardly needed.

An inspiration and a joy to anyone who has encountered emotional hardship and who knows, or will know, that the heart is a resilient muscle, The Heart’s Journey is the perfect gift for somebody who needs to remember that the heart always emerges triumphant.

 

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