Witchcraft Activism

Not too long ago I posted a photo on social media of all the books/decks that I have yet to write reviews for and asked for people’s opinion on what they’d like to see first. The overwhelming response was to review “Witchcraft Activism: A Toolkit for Magical Resistance” by David Salisbury next. I can’t say as I blame anyone who voted for it. In this time of political upheaval people now, more than ever, are looking for a way to take action.

The good news is, “Witchcraft Activism” gets the job done. Obviously if you’re a magical practitioner, the idea of effecting change with magic isn’t an outlandish idea. However, I was happy to see Salisbury clearly show the similarities (similarities that never occurred to me) between magic and activism. Both require a serious reflection on intention and the work of follow through. Salisbury has a background in activism and takes you step by step through any type of activism that may interest you: lobbying, letter writing, marches, and more. Then add to that an inspiring number of ways you can utilize magic to reinforce and improve on those actions! He discusses sigils, candle spells, spirit servitors, and of course, more.

David Salisbury has created a great guide for aspiring activists. You could ignore all the magical elements and still walk away with a fantastic book on activism. As far as I’m concerned, the informative magical information is just icing on the cake! Highly recommended!

You can learn more here.

Five Core Beliefs for a More Peaceful and Meaningful Life

By Carly Pollack

The more you control the voice in your head, the easier it will be to allow guidance to come forth from your higher self. If your house is dilapidated and built on a crooked foundation yet located on a beautiful piece of property, do you try to put up new walls, give the house a fresh coat of paint, and hope for the best? No. You tear that sucker to the ground. Strip it of everything, including the foundation, and then start from scratch. We need to break the mind down to its core beliefs, decide how we want to view the world, and then build up from there. This requires a new set of basic beliefs, a new system for you to honor and practice.

During my many years of working with clients and walking my own spiritual path, the following five core beliefs have helped me live in a more peaceful and meaningful way. Whether you love these five or wish to make up your own, I encourage you to print them out and put them in a place that allows you to see them throughout the day.

Five Core Beliefs
1. Everything happens for me, not to me. There is meaning and growth opportunity in this experience.
2. Everything is unfolding perfectly at the exact right time.
3. Out of this, only good will come.
4. The Universe is looking out for me and conspiring in my favor.
5. I am enough, and I am loved.

Let’s examine these one at a time.

1. Everything happens for me, not to me. There is meaning and growth opportunity in this experience. You can’t control what happens in your life. Believe me, I’ve tried this from all angles (and endured a lot of suffering from doing so). You can, however, control what these events mean to you. You have the power to create any story you want. You can say, “This is the worst thing that has ever happened to me,” or you can create a more positive and empowering narrative.

2. Everything is unfolding perfectly at the exact right time. We live in a time when the world is at our fingertips. Social media shows us the highlight reel of everyone’s life, not the outtakes. One scroll through your Instagram feed, and you feel behind. “I should have a boyfriend/girlfriend/better job/child/more money/bigger home/bigger career/flatter stomach.” Believing that everything is unfolding perfectly on your life path allows you to take a deep breath and be grateful for the way that your story is unfolding. You must trust that the person you look up to was at one time standing right where you are. There is nothing amiss here. This is your story, and it gets more beautiful once you surrender to it. Fries won’t make you feel better about where you are in your life’s path, but this belief will.

3. Out of this, only good will come. You are most likely in the habit of living your life in hindsight. You experience massive stress and emotional turmoil when something undesirable happens, and then years later you look back and say, “I understand why that happened.” Think about your first heartbreak. Were you completely lovesick, devastated, and hopeless about ever finding love again? How do you feel about it now that some time has passed? Bad things are going to happen. It’s simply the human experience. No one is exempt from the pitfalls of being alive. Imagine being in the moment when the shit hits the fan and telling yourself that only good will come of this. This belief allows you to feel at peace, even while you are in the midst of chaos.

4. The Universe is looking out for me and conspiring in my favor. Whether you call it the Universe, God, Love, and so on, something more significant is guiding you and knows even better than you what you need to experience in your lifetime. Personally, I don’t want to believe that it’s all up to me. That’s just too much pressure! I have peace knowing something greater is working its magic on my behalf.

5. I am enough, and I am loved. You don’t have to be anything other than what you are right now. You don’t have to be richer, thinner, smarter, or more successful. You will feel most fulfilled when you wake up every morning with the desire to be better than who you were the day before. The difference is the energy you bring to this appetite for more. Wanting to evolve as you come from a place of feeling enough has exponentially more power than wanting to be more to prove to yourself that you are enough.

When beginning to take control of the voice in your head, please be patient. Your first reaction will be to go to your default survival mind. Take a little space, and start to do the work. Call on your new belief system, and ask your higher self for guidance. Have compassion for yourself in the process; you are doing the hard work of rewiring yourself from a place of fear and control to one of love and surrender. This requires daily practice but will ultimately give you the clarity you need to take action and live your life’s purpose. This purpose is nothing more than awakening to your gift and sharing it with the world, living in harmony with the flow of life, and enjoying your adventure as it unfolds.

About Carly Pollack:
Carly Pollack is the author of Feed Your Soul and is the founder of Nutritional Wisdom, a thriving private practice based in Austin, Texas. A Certified Clinical Nutritionist with a master’s degree in holistic nutrition, Carly has been awarded Best Nutritionist in Austin five years running and has helped over 10,000 people achieve their health and happiness goals. Visit her online at www.carlypollack.com

Excerpted from the book Feed Your Soul. Copyright ©2019 by Carly Pollack. Printed with permission from New World Library — www.newworldlibrary.com.

Flamsteed’s Atlas Coelestis

As most of you are aware, I started selling merchandise a few months back. Everything I created has different phrases and sentiments that I like and thought you might enjoy. However, in the back of my mind there was something else I wanted to do too.

Hiding in the public domain are many beautiful works just waiting to be rediscovered and shared. I happened across several by John Flamsteed. (By the way, if you support me on Patreon this is all old news to you.) Flamsteed (1646-1719) was an English astronomer and the first Astronomer Royal. He catalogued over 3000 stars and was responsible for several of the earliest recorded sightings of the planet Uranus, which he mistook for a star. After his death his widow helped get his work published as “Atlas Coelestis”. Flamsteed’s work was updated and republished several times, the last being in 1795.

Although the work he did was for science, the images he created are art. And I want to share it! That’s why I used several of his charts to make a line of greeting cards and postcards!



You can see them all in my online store! You’ll want to click in on the images to see what they truly look like, CafePress treats home screen edits more like suggestions than directions. If you like what you see, don’t wait to purchase, these are only going to be available until May 31, 2019!

10 Questions with Nicholas Pearson

1. What first sparked your interest in crystals?

I’ve been collecting rocks since about as far back as I can remember. My grandfather was the first person to give me a proper mineral specimen (a piece of quartz from Hot Springs, Arkansas–if you look at the color plates in The Seven Archetypal Stones you’ll find it pictured there). I’ve been hooked ever since.

2. How do you go about researching crystals for your books?

It always starts with an idea that holds my interest. I really only write about things that excite me, which is why I haven’t done a “crystals for beginners” book yet. Once I’ve got an idea, I try to map it out from all angles. Examining the mineral kingdom through the lenses of language, culture, history, spirituality and religion, medicine, art, industry, science, etc. allows me to look for connections between mineral science and the metaphysics of crystal energy.

As for the how-to part of my research, I have a large part of my library devoted solely to minerals (getting closer to 400 books on rocks every day…), so I usually start there. Depending on the topic, I try to get as close to primary sources as possible, looking for the oldest and most reliable written accounts that I can access. Books that capture historic gemstone use, such as those by Lecouteux and Kunz, are invaluable. I try to compare the information in these with modern crystal mystics, like Katrina Raphaell, Naisha Ahsian, and Judy Hall, to name just a few. Next, I look for the threads of mineral science that unite them, perhaps by seeking common themes grouped around particular constituent elements or crystal systems. Ultimately, research for every project is unique, and it is guided by the overarching theme of the work itself.

3. How do you incorporate crystals into your everyday life?

I often say that there is no horizontal surface in my home without a crystal (or five). The mineral kingdom is a big support system for me. I keep crystals around my house, in my pockets, in the car, on my desk, and around my neck. I incorporate them into my daily meditation and use them for gem therapy protocols on myself and clients. Most importantly, I try to just take time out of my everyday experience and listen to the stones themselves.

4. I always say, “When in doubt, quartz!” Is it just me or is a good, clear quartz crystal the Swiss Army knife of the crystal kingdom?

Quartz is wonderful as an all-purpose tool. In gemstone therapy, we use quartz for a lot of basic treatments because it is said to offer the full spectrum of life-force to us. From the cultural and historical perspective, few stones have been held in such high regard as universally as quartz crystal. Even through the lens of mineral science, we see that the crystallography, optics, and other properties of quartz lend tremendous potential to this stone. It is a profound healer, teacher, and guide on our path, and for that reason it is often esteemed as the “master” mineral. I think part of what makes quartz so versatile is that it is easily programmed or charged to hold virtually any intention, and it is a master of reflecting our own psychological and spiritual makeup so we can better ourselves through crystal healing.

5. What inspired your latest book Stones of the Goddess: Crystals for the Divine Feminine?

Stones of the Goddess started as a persistent idea that I kept trying to sweep to the back of my head so I could focus on other projects. You see, the idea of Earth-as-Mother is cross-cultural; we find it throughout the ancient world, and it is even extant in scientific literature today (albeit metaphorically) through ideas such as the Gaia Hypothesis. If we conceive of the planet as the embodiment of the Great Mother, rock and stone are part and parcel of Her body. The mineral kingdom becomes a powerful conduit through which we can experience the love, power, and wisdom of the Goddess. Further, there is an extraordinary amount of folklore that links rocks and minerals to myths and themes associated with the Divine Feminine.

I admit that I was skeptical about writing this book at the onset because the idea for Stones of the Goddess felt a little out of place next to some of my other titles. Thankfully, after chatting with one of the editors at Inner Traditions about it at the International New Age Trade Show two years ago, I felt encouraged that there would be an audience. That really paved the way for the manuscript to take form.

6. Were you concerned that there could be backlash with you being a male writing about the Divine Feminine?

I’ve been transparent about this idea from the inception of the book. I totally understand that as someone who identifies as male, there will be concepts, experiences, and feelings that I’ll never fully grasp. However, I’ve cultivated a personal relationship with the Divine Feminine through daily practice for almost twenty years now. I think it’s fair for me to write from the perspective of a scholar and practitioner, so long as I own my maleness. Since I have a public vehicle to honor the Divine Feminine, I really want to do that as respectfully and sincerely as possible, and whenever there is an opportunity to cede my space at the table for someone who identifies as female to take the spotlight and have her voice heard, I will do so. Ultimately, I hope that conversations about the Divine Feminine lead us all–male, female, or otherwise–to act in ways that honor our inner Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine.

7. Stones of the Goddess is a huge, full color book LOADED with some seriously sexy photos of crystals. Are those all from your collection? (Actually, how large is your collection?)

Thank you for your kind words about the photos. My partner, Steven, is a talented photographer who has worked on all my books so far. We decided to create scenes that were evocative of spells, rituals, and sacred spaces with the images for Stones of the Goddess. It’s definitely our most beautiful collaboration yet.

Sadly, not all the stones pictured in the book are mine. Some of my most beloved tools are a little less photogenic than we needed, or they’d been photographed for other books. Although I managed to borrow a couple of stones from friends, many of the crystals (and the props like candles, herbs, statues, and more) were graciously loaned to us for photos by my friend Miranda, owner of Avalon, a historic metaphysical store near downtown Orlando.

As for the size of my collection, it’s at the point where I really can’t keep track. I can tell you this much, I wouldn’t want to get trapped underneath all my rocks and minerals if they were piled together.

8. You also wrote Foundations of Reiki Ryoho: A Manual of Shoden and Okuden. Do you feel there is an overlap with your work with crystals and Reiki?

I get asked a lot about crystals and Reiki together. In my earlier days, I often combined the two in my everyday practice, but these days I tend to allow each modality to stand on its own. The understanding of energy, and the sensitivity to subtle energies overall, have certainly enriched both my awareness of crystals and my Reiki practice.

In spite of a theoretical overlap of the theory behind crystals and Reiki, I do keep them separate. Right now there is a big trend in the modern metaphysical milieu to equate Reiki with energy healing of almost any variety. This is can be helpful when broaching the topic with the general populace, but it ultimately does a disservice to Reiki itself. The practice of Reiki, called Usui Reiki Ryoho, or “Usui’s Reiki Healing Method,” is a spiritual practice in and of itself–a complete system that doesn’t require any add-ons, substitutions, or deletions. A lot of the fundamentals of traditional Reiki practice are misunderstood or omitted entirely, and my hope is that we can reclaim these tools and teachings to maintain the integrity of the system for future generations.

9. What’s next? Do you have any upcoming projects my readers can look forward to?

I’m always working on something new! Next year I’ll have a manual of practical crystal healing (much more than just a crystals 101 book) coming out. For this year, I’m focused a little more on travel and teaching. I’ll be on the road a lot, so there will be a better opportunity to connect with my readers. And eventually I’ve got two sequels to Stones of the Goddess planned, too.

10. Parting shot! Ask us here at The Buffet any one question.

If you could have any Goddess over for tea, who would it be and why?

I’ve given this question a lot of thought by contemplating my own personal altar. I have 4 goddesses on my altar: Kwan Yin, Santa Muerte, Medusa, and Kali. I think I’d have tea with Kwan Yin and Santa Muerte. I feel they would be soothing, thoughtful companions. On the other hand, I think doing some hard drinking with Medusa and Kali would be fun. Definitely a sitting at the bar trash talking good time would be had by all!

About Nicholas Pearson:
Nicholas Pearson has been immersed in all aspects of the mineral kingdom for more than 20 years. He began teaching crystal workshops in high school, later studying mineral science at Stetson University while pursuing a degree in music. He worked for several years at the Gillespie Museum, home to the largest mineral collection in the southern United States. A certified teacher and practitioner of Usui Reiki Ryoho, he teaches crystal and Reiki classes throughout the United States. He lives in Orlando, Florida. www.theluminouspearl.com

Witching Hour

I’m not a big fan of journaling or keeping a diary. I was made to do it when I was young and in therapy. As an adult I’ve tried it out and generally find it a depressing chore. (Fortunately, with the prevalence of cognitive behavioral therapy, therapists these days don’t mention journaling.) That’s why if I’m going to use a journal, I like one designed with structure and purpose. One like “Witching Hour: A Journal for Cultivating Positivity, Confidence, and other Magic” by Sarah Bartlett.

This delightful, compact, 160-page full color journal is filled with exercises, articles, and spells. They’re divided into 8 sections: Self-Worth & Charism, Love & Romance, Abundance & Prosperity, Vocation & Lifestyle, Home & Well-Being, Success & Creativity, Dreams & Goals, and Friendship & Mentors. The format for the book is wonderful, but you cannot review the book without gushing about the illustrations of Rachel Urquhart (aka, Pony Gold). Her artwork is found throughout “Witching Hour” and takes Bartlett’s words to another level of magical.


If you’re like me, and want a more structured journaling experience, and love a touch of the magical, “Witching Hour” is the book for you!

You can learn more here.

How to Create Heart-Centered Relationships

By Deirdre Hade

Love is necessary for a happy life. When we have love, we’re happy. It’s simple; but getting, understanding, and maintaining love tends to be challenging. How do you go about creating a life of love and heart centered relationships?

Creating Heart Centered Relationships

To create heartfelt relationships, the first thing to remember is that, from the broadest of perspectives, everything in life is really the love story of the Universe. Think about that in terms of your life. What if every encounter with a person you desire a heartfelt relationship with was perceived and felt as a love scene? How would you ask for something? What would you say if you were upset or had been wronged? When you approach relationships from the love that resides within you instead of acting from your ego – seeking power, wanting to “win the seat,” or other ego generated dynamics – you will be able to create heart centered relationships.

Slay the Yetzer Hara and the Energy of Confusion

However, part of the human condition is what the Kabbalah calls the energy of the yetzer hara – the energy of confusion. This energy will show itself and arise in the times when we are closest with those we love. So, another key is to be watchful and to be aware that the energy of yetzer hara is going to show up. There’s no way around it. And when it does show up, the secret is to see it for what it is by engaging the “Silent Watcher” within. The Silent Watcher is the first embodiment of having a spiritual practice. It is the ability to impartially observe your internal landscape – your feelings, how your ego processes experiences, what your heart is feeling. When you’re in touch with your Silent Watcher, you can see negativity before it erupts and thus make a conscious choice to not play into the hands of the ego.

Cultivate Gratitude

Another useful practice for creating heart centered relationships is to affirm the love that others have for you. Acknowledge your gratitude for the presence and love that those in your life bring you. It’s especially important to affirm the positive when there is a disturbance in a relationship. You do this by separating the other person’s behavior from who they really are. By staying connected to their true heart and soul and breathing through the difficulties, you will not only stay connected to the people you love; you will give them the spiritual strength to overcome the demons and negativity they are experiencing.

Spend Time in Pure Silence

Remember, also, to spend time in pure silence on a regular basis in your most intimate relationships, such as with your partner, family, and close friends. The soul and heart know love. It’s our mouth, what we say, and our ego mind that sometimes gets in the way. Engage in a practice of spending time together without speaking – simply being and dropping into Presence. Let me give an example from my marriage: Will and I often take hands to simply look at each other and be in love, in silence. Invariably, this incredible presence of love is felt between the two of us. Another example is when my father and I would take silent walks together under the magnolias and the evergreen trees. Holding his hand in silence is one of my most cherished memories. It was worth everything in the world to have those moments of true love, especially now that he is gone.

About the Author:
Deirdre Hade is a mystic, artist and visionary elucidating the spiritual world. You can visit her at www.deirdrehade.com

Dreams & Symbols

I love reference books. Books with titles like, “Encyclopedia of….” or “Dictionary of….”. I “collect” books, but I hoard these kinds of books. For some reason I feel like I can never have too many of them, and in my defense, they all have something unique to offer.

For instance, look at the two books I’m discussing today, “The New Secret Language of Symbols: An Illustrated Key to Unlocking Their Deep & Hidden Meanings” and “The New Secret Language of Dreams: The Illustrated Key to Understanding the Mysteries of the Unconscious”, both by David Fontana. The key word here is “illustrated”. Both books are entirely full color, heavy stock glossy pages filled with wonderful illustrations. These both are more than reference books, they’re coffee table art books.


Fontana has written several books before these about dreams and meditation. He wrote “You Can Understand Your Dreams”, “1000 Dreams”, “You Can Understand Meditation”, and two different tarot decks (“The Wisdom Seeker’s Tarot” and “The Truth Seeker’s Tarot”). I guess what I’m trying to say is, these books pull on a lot of past elbow grease.


I won’t claim that either of these books are revolutionary, however they are well researched, thoroughly indexed, and beautiful.

You can learn more here.

Joseph Campbell: Correspondence 1927-1987

I’d like to think everyone knows who Joseph Campbell is, but just in case, here’s the briefest of biographies. Campbell was probably the person most responsible for bringing the discussion of mythology into popular culture. He’s the author of “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” and the four-volume “The Masks of God”. His ability to find the universality in myth and religion and convey them to the average person makes him an individual who will always be remembered.

With that in mind you’ll understand why I was excited to read “Joseph Campbell: Correspondence 1927-1987”. This is a never before available collection of written conversations between Campbell and some amazing people, such as Alan Watts, Bill Moyers, Thomas Mann. These letters give insight into Campbell’s relationships, life, and influence on others. Alongside the correspondence are plenty of great photos.

Obviously, the correspondence is the star of the show, but it should be noted the introduction features a wonderful biography of Campbell. It provides all the background you need to understand and enjoy the letters that follow.

To learn more, visit here.

The Witch’s Book of Self-Care

Here in New York we’re still in the cold, dark, grip of winter. As I type this, I’m waiting to see what happens with the next winter storm rolling through. Piled under blankets while listening to the fireplace makes me feel this is the perfect time to share my review of “The Witch’s Book of Self-Care: Magical Ways to Pamper, Soothe, and Care for Your Body and Spirit” by Arin Murphy-Hiscock. You may remember the author from the interview I did with her not too long ago.

Murphy-Hiscock states the goals of self-care as “healthy mind, healthy body, and healthy spirit.” At the beginning of the book she offers the simple definition of self-care as “self-care is any activity you do deliberately to take care of your mental, emotional or physical health.” She goes on to explain that the concept of self-care is compatible with magic “because magic is about listening to what’s inside you and the messages the Divine and nature have for you.” “The Witch’s Book of Self-Care” is truly proof of this because I feel it would appeal to people who practice magic looking for ideas for self-care, AND people who practice self-care looking to explore magic.

She divides the book into mental and emotional self-care, physical self-care, spiritual self-care, and household self-care. Contained within those chapters you’ll find diverse ideas ranging from a recipe for pot roast to affirmations to directions for making your own body butter. Seriously, this book has a little something for everyone.

If you’re like me, looking out a window into a cold, stormy winter, could I suggest “The Witch’s Book of Self-Care” to help fill the rest of the season?

You can learn more here.

Crystals

As most readers know, I love me some books about crystals! So obviously I was excited when St. Martin’s Press reached out to me about a new book regarding crystals that releases February 19th, “Crystals: A Guide to Using the Crystal Compass for Energy, Healing, and Reclaiming Your Power” by Aisha Amarfio. It did not disappoint.

Amarfio is well versed in crystals, of course, or how else would this book have happened, right? What is truly unique about the author’s approach is the crystal compass referenced in the title. She starts with the four elements of earth, water, air, and fire, and how they correspond with body, emotion, spirit, and mind. From that point it expands further into the needs of those categories and then the best stones for that purpose. It’s well thought out, intuitive to use, and indispensable to those who work with crystals.


However, don’t think that “Crystals” is just a glorified chart. It’s a fantastic reference for crystals and their uses. To coincide with the compass, the stones are divided in the book by elements: earth, fire, water, and air. To make the book more user friendly there is a symptoms index and a results index. “Crystals” is a great book for anyone interested in crystals, however I think that holistic health practitioners such as massage therapists, energy workers, and estheticians will find this book especially useful. Particularly with its compact size, hardcover, and built in crystal compass making it an easily portable reference guide.

You can learn more here.