Empty Cauldrons – Book


Empty Cauldrons: Navigating Depression Through Magic and Ritual by Terence P. Ward

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A Pagan Guide to Coping with Depression

Whether is it impacting you or a loved one, depression can be difficult to discuss or even acknowledge. Empty Cauldrons explores the isolating influence it can have and why many people resist professional help. With contributions from Pagan clergy, depression sufferers, and therapists, author Terence P Ward creates a picture of depression that draws upon both science and religion. He also shares his own experiences with this common affliction and the spiritual methods he has used for relief.

Discover how to draw off miasma, appeal to the gods of the wind, purify yourself with sound, and host a traditional Hellenic ancestor feast. Learn about conducting shadow work, tending a depression shrine, keeping a dream journal, and much more. Throughout the book, Ward compassionately presents dozens of simple strategies for developing a polytheistic relationship with depression, seeking comfort, and rekindling hope.

Includes a foreword by M. Macha Nightmare, priestess, witch, and cofounder of the reclaiming collective

Empty Cauldrons stands alone in how it navigates through the poignant to the profound. Terence P. Ward has provided a unique work that while modern and cutting edge also flows like a timeless grimoire, exploring ancient magic and formula that is not only invaluable to whom may be challenged by depression but those immersed in the healing arts and community for a better understanding of those we support, work with and love. Empty Cauldrons supersedes anything of the like I have ever read, a truly unique and altering read.”—Witchdoctor Utu, founder of the Dragon Ritual Drummers and author of Conjuring Harriet “Mama Moses” Tubman and the Spirits of the Underground Railroad

“Few works in our communities have set about tackling this topic, for as Ward states plainly, depression is an antagonist thatdoes not like to be talked about…[Ward does] an admirable and soulfullynecessary;job of breaching the boundaries of the looming elephant in our room –depression – as a serious medical condition, wrought with obstacles not just within the throes of its tendril’d unfolding, but from without in a society which systemically shifts from vantage upon them, and these. From topics of suicide to stigmas inside and out, this book compassionately (and with temperance) implores readers to sit with their biases and fears, examining the realities of an oft under-examined element of harrowing impact in the lives of so many today. Now, more than ever before, is a time in which wemustcourageously plunge into the depths of discourse and awareness of the seriousness of depression and trauma, beyond sorrow or situational sadness, and recognize it – name it – as the dire threat it is, and ever has been, for so many amongst us.”—Theanos Thrax, author/scholar, mental health consultant, polytheist priest

“I don’t say this lightly or often—this is an important book, not only for the community that is its target market but for anyone who is living with depression. Empty Cauldrons is a rare gift to anyone who has been looking for answers to the shadowy questions that haunt them—it’s readable, sensible, hopeful and effective.  Get it. Gift it. Give thanks for it.”—H. Byron Ballard, priestess and pastor, author of Roots, Branches and Spirits

“A remarkable undertaking addressing what it is to have chronic depression and to be pagan…Ward, a well known pagan journalist, has assembled his personal journey into a deep yet accessible discussion of how depression affects our spirituality and how our practice may help us address depression. He brings perspectives from many pagan leads who he interviewed for this work. While reading this I found myself thinking I should order a couple dozen copies for people I’ve known and counseled over the years, and their families.”—Rev. Dr. C. Davis Sprague, MD, HP Stewart Tradition

“Depression isolates us from all that we love. With Empty Cauldrons, Terence Ward helps break that isolation through courageous truth telling and a thoughtful, practical approach to a range of Pagan spiritual tools. Ward brings together a multiplicity of voices and traditions, creating something more than a mere self-help book with a Pagan twist. Encompassing storytelling, devotionals, spellcraft, and above all, a deep respect for the wisdom traditions of Paganism, he has created a book that belongs on the shelves of any Pagan who has struggled with depression, or who knows someone who has. I cannot recommend this book strongly enough.”—Cat Chapin-Bishop, MSW, LICSW, author of Quaker Pagan Reflections and founding chair of the Pastoral Counseling Department at Cherry Hill Seminary

288 pp.




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