The Bavarian Illuminati

In a world of sexy book porn, today we’re looking at some of the sexiest of sexy, “The Bavarian Illuminati: The Rise and Fall of the World’s Most Secret Society” by Rene Le Forestier and translated by Jon E. Graham. This is 912 pages of pulse pounding intrigue and yawn inducing bureaucracy that was originally published in 1915 and hasn’t been available in English until now. Until now!

Inner Traditions spared no expense in bringing “The Bavarian Illuminati” to English speaking audiences. The text is presented in hard cover, with a built-in ribbon bookmark. This book is informative, but could also be brandished as a weapon if necessary. But enough foreplay, let’s get into it.

Le Forestier utilized as much primary source material in researching this book as he could find. Bavarian academic Adam Weishaupt founded the short-lived Bavarian Order of the Illuminati in 1776, mainly as a reaction to the Jesuit stranglehold on education in Bavaria at the time and his disappointment in his attempts to join the Freemasons. An intelligent, but vain individual, Weishaupt’s grand design would have floundered and died quickly, but fortunately for him, Adolph, Baron von Knigge came along and helped organize the Illuminati first by applying his Freemason knowledge to the order and then creating the strategy of taking over Freemasonry from the inside out. Even with this, the order didn’t quite last 10 years.

Yet the idea of the Illuminati and their efforts to sabotage the Church and subvert the German Freemasons planted seeds that still bear fruit today of a global organization with its tendrils in everything from the government to the stock market. In reading “The Bavarian Illuminati” Le Forestier clearly presents the flaw in this conspiracy in the fact that the Weishaupt’s Illuminati couldn’t keep itself secret for a decade, let alone imagining this bickering hive of egos could keep a secret for hundreds of years.

“The Bavarian Illuminati” by Rene Le Forestier is not an inexpensive book. However, if you’re looking for a deep dive into the origins of the infamous Bavarian Illuminati and the assorted other secret societies of the era, this would be money well spent.

You can learn more here.

Get your own copy here. (This is an affiliate link to my Bookshop, which supports independent bookstores throughout the United States. If you use this link to purchase the book, I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you.)

Do you enjoy The Magical Buffet? Considering supporting The Magical Buffet on Patreon! For only $5 a month you’ll receive monthly tarot/oracle forecasts, classes, and behind the scenes updates! Https://www.patreon.com/magicalbuffet

The Crystal Fix

It is no secret that I love crystals, so yes, I’ll be reviewing another book about crystals. Now obviously I requested a review copy of “The Crystal Fix: Healing Crystals for the Modern Home” by Juliette Thornbury because, duh, crystals. Honestly, I was not prepared by for how truly wonderful this book turned out to be.

I’m not going to say that Thornbury has written a major breakthrough for the crystal market, much of the contents of “The Crystal Fix” is fairly standard fair. However, there a few things that make this book special, and really a must own for those of us addicted to our crystals. First, the photography of crystals throughout the book is absolutely stunning. I’m talking, stopping you mid-page turn gasping at the beauty level of photos. Next, in all the crystal books I’ve read, and yes there has been a lot, never has a book on the subject shown so thoroughly how to fully integrate them into your daily life. From special crystal rituals, to your skincare routine, to jewelry or just sitting on a window sill, you cannot read “The Crystal Fix” and not be inspired to incorporate more crystals into your life.

If you love crystals, you really should get a copy of “The Crystal Fix” by Juliette Thornbury. You’ll come away with a better understanding of all the ways crystals can be utilized daily.

You can learn more here.

Get your own copy here. (This is an affiliate link to my Bookshop, which supports independent bookstores throughout the United States. If you use this link to purchase the book, I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you.)

Do you enjoy The Magical Buffet? Considering supporting The Magical Buffet on Patreon! For only $5 a month you’ll receive monthly tarot/oracle forecasts, classes, and behind the scenes updates! Https://www.patreon.com/magicalbuffet

10 Questions Tobias Churton (and Giveaway)

Today we’re talking with Tobias Churton, an authority on Gnosticism, Hermeticism, Freemasonry, and Rosicrucianism, and author of the book “Aleister Crowley in England: The Return of the Great Beast.”

1. I realize it’s hard to summarize, but for my readers who may not be familiar with him, who is Aleister Crowley?

Christened Edward Alexander Crowley, Aleister (his pen-name) Crowley was born in 1875 in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, England, the son of a self-financing Plymouth Brethren Christian preacher whose family had made a fortune in brewing. An only child, Crowley was brought up with little contact with non-Brethren families and encouraged to see the Bible as having the literal truth about everything. After his father’s death, aged 11, he reacted against his mother and uncle’s indoctrination and started to see a pleasant life beyond strict doctrine. He was educated at numerous schools and by private tutors until recommended for Cambridge University’s Trinity College by the Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury. He studied modern languages, literature and chemistry with a view to becoming a diplomat. While a student he distinguished himself as a daring, original mountaineer in the UK and the Alps and devoted his spare time when not climbing to poetry, inspired by Swinburne and Browning. When he came into his fortune he didn’t care to complete his final examinations, decided there was no lasting fame in diplomatic service, and struck out on a personal career in Magick, poetry and mountaineering. He was trained as a ceremonial magician in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, founded for men and women by British Freemasons. When the Order split apart in 1900 he began his world travels, crossing to America, thence to Hawaii, Japan, China and Ceylon where he studied raj yoga with his friend Allan Bennett, who would go on to lead the first Buddhist sangha to Great Britain. Crowley joined his friend Oscar Eckenstein on the first attempt on K2 in the Karakorams in 1902, then went to Cairo and Paris where he involved himself with the Montparnasse artistic scene, being friendly with painter Gerald Kelly, whose sister Rose, Crowley married as a ruse to get her out of an unwanted liaison in 1903. They fell in love. During their honeymoon in 1904, Rose told him in Cairo that “they” were waiting for him. “They” appeared to be the “Secret Chiefs” of the Order which Crowley had joined. Following Rose’s instructions, he invoked the god Horus in rented rooms in Cairo and over three days took down by direct voice dictation what came to be called The Book of the Law, a message from a kind of angel called “Aiwas” outlining that a new Aeon had come about with a distinctly Nietzschean quality to it; Crowley was its prophet. Crowley initially ignored the text but as time went on he attributed his gradually failing fortunes to his ignoring it. By 1909 he was dedicated to leading a new Order, the Astrum Argentinum, into the new Aeon, which set him against numerous prevailing doctrines of the times. What happened after that time until his death in Hastings in 1947, you can read about in the six volumes of Churton’s biography of Crowley.

2. “Aleister Crowley in England: The Return of the Great Beast” is your fifth book detailing a period of Crowley’s life. What made you to decide to focus on Crowley’s life as a topic?

I felt a great injustice had been done to Crowley and that his achievements and insights deserved an accurate telling without prejudice and based solely on the surviving records, of which there are a great deal. I gained access to his private papers, diaries and letters and have researched the subject over forty years.

3. I’m always so conflicted when considering Crowley. Is he an eccentric iconoclast, sensitive scholar, entitled snob, all of the above?

I think he was all of the above. He had snobbish tendencies but he never turned people away from himself on account of their background. He considered himself a chivalrous aristocrat, insofar as the word “aristocrat” implies government by “the best.” He had a passion for justice, and was a strong advocate of the rights of the individual, male or female to pursue their true goals in life without restriction.

4. I was surprised to learn that Crowley was using medically prescribed heroin for an assortment of health issues later in life. How far back does that use go and how much, if at all, you feel it affected his behavior?

Crowley was prescribed heroin for bronchitis and asthma in 1919 by his family doctor, Dr Harold Batty Shaw of Harley Street, London, a distinguished surgeon. It was the only medicine that brought temporary relief from a condition which got worse during the 1920s, several times nearly resulting in death. When in Germany in 1931-32 he found a German medication which he used instead but could not obtain it after returning to England in May 1932. His heroin was provided by doctor’s prescription. The use of the drug might have made him rather verbose in his writing at certain times, and emphasised occasionally the dreamy and mystical tendency to be out of this world, but his intellect was sharp, and his humour was rich, until the end. Physically he suffered badly during World War Two, on account of nerves over German bombing and concern for others and his mission in life, and he never recovered the great strength he enjoyed until the end of World War One.

5. You’re based out of England, and I’m curious if you notice a difference in the perception of Crowley between England and the United States?

I don’t see a great deal of difference. Perception of Crowley very much depends on education and personal experience. All kinds of “seekers” have some response to Crowley, and it often depends on which bodies of commitment any individual favours. Theosophists, for example, are often deeply suspicious of Crowley, whereas Freemasons vary one way or the other. Some only see the public image, which is ludicrous and deliberately off-putting. There are fanatically minded zealots who seems to be obsessed by their own propaganda, and the US seems to have more than its fair share of such cases, but fanaticism is to be found in most places where people have access to a little knowledge, but little inclination to study subjects in depth and with objectivity. The internet has been a great thing but also a dangerous thing because all information is presented on the same plane. People want to know what’s “really” happening in the world, but don’t want to wait long for an answer, and settle for sketches which are often no more than cartoons or mere graffiti. Obviously, it’s difficult for many Americans to understand the subtle nuances that go into an Edwardian Englishman’s outlook on the world (and vice versa), but Crowley had a universal mind and adored travel and meeting new phases of sensitivity and experience of things. He did not think much of the American dollar-oriented system as a system, but he liked Americans personally very much and would have liked to have spent the rest of his life in the States after he’d been back in England for eight years! He lived in the U.S. exclusively from the end of 1914 to the end of 1919: five long and eventful years. His American followers have been particularly devoted. His anti-Christian stance (which is not at all it seems to be) obviously alienates people who feel threatened by trenchant criticism of some traditional Christian doctrines (such as atonement by blood sacrifice).

6. I loved to learn that Crowley was quite the foodie, and enjoyed seeing his recipes in “Aleister Crowley in England.” Any chance of a Crowley cookbook in future?

I wanted to do that some years back but the copyright holder said the task had been given to someone else years ago – but they hadn’t done it. I should say the recipes in the book could all be created from the information in my book. But you’re right. I could have made it a real joy, I think.

7. You’re the founder of “Freemasonry Today” magazine. I think the general population considers Freemasons a secretive organization, so how did the magazine come about?

I heard the United Grand Lodge of England planned a magazine for public availability to help the public see what Freemasonry really was, and to help Freemasons understand their own Masonry better. So I wrote to the people who hoped to launch it, and was offered the job, which I was happy to do, as it was about finding the truth and telling it clearly.

8. Your work is academic, thoughtful, and accessible, yet you’re so prolific. Can you offer any insights into your research and writing process?

There’s no substitute for work. One thing is that after working in TV as a researcher, writer and director for about ten years in the 1980s, I had a terribly hard time in the 90s until 1997 – funnily enough the bad times followed after my biggest success, the book and TV series GNOSTICS – and I felt I had “lost” vital years where I wanted desperately to create and move forwards with new projects. I feared I would never regain my foothold on the mountain again, that my life was ruined. After 2000, an opening was made in the brick wall of resistance, and I started writing again, having got into the habit of writing and editing through the magazine Freemasonry Today which taught me new disciplines. I’ve felt that I had to make up for those awful lost years, so I do not procrastinate, and am grateful for every single new day where I know I can still write and think and create. My work-output would frighten many people, but I feel it is consistent with the very great driving force that has been in me since I was a child. I have long felt this world is in such a state that personally speaking, my only proper response is to give it every thing I possibly can in terms of the very best things that I can conceive of, and discover, and that I am hopefully and gratefully gifted and qualified to accomplish. The question is always there: how do we get out of the kind of fixed thinking that makes humankind keep repeating its mistakes and not learning from them, and growing up? This means deep, unremitting research and deep thought, and the energy to create. I work strict, long hours and like to finish the day with a trip to the pub and a chat with whoever enjoys good conversation and a joke. Then I like to eat a hearty dinner with a glass of wine, and see a good, classic movie – and hope my dreams match those of an older Hollywood for entertainment value!

9. What’s next? Do you have any upcoming projects that my readers should be aware of?

I have just completed a new book called THE ORIGINS OF ALCHEMY. I have shared that fascination others have felt for this mysterious subject and wanted to get to the true bottom of it, and unravel the Gordian knot of confusion and obfuscation on the subject. I think this book will be the kind of experience I should like to have been presented with 40 years ago! It would have saved myself and others an awful lot of trouble! Next I intend to write an historical novel, and hopefully get my TV drama series I’ve written made for TV or film. It’s set in Paris in the 1880s and 1990s and is poetic, sexy and magical. It would also be nice if I could find a proper outlet for my music. I wrote my first orchestral tone-poem last year (52 minutes) as well as a new album of songs and instrumental works. I need several more lifetimes to feel I’ve given all I wish to give. And then, I expect I’d want to do more still. If my “cup runneth over” it’s because I haven’t yet been given a large enough cup!

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

What do you think England has to offer the world these days?

Magically speaking, I feel England will always have something to offer. So many magical traditions have roots in the country that it will be kind of an eternal touchstone for magical studies. Also, England’s delicious curry and chips have yet to make their mark in America, so I have that to look forward to.

About Tobias Churton:
Tobias Churton is an authority on Gnosticism, Hermeticism, Freemasonry, and Rosicrucianism. Appointed Honorary Fellow of Exeter University in 2005, he holds a master’s degree in Theology from Brasenose College, Oxford, and is the author of many books, including three previous books on Aleister Crowley—”Aleister Crowley in America”, “Aleister Crowley in India”, and “Aleister Crowley: The Beast in Berlin”. He lives in the heart of England. You can find him at https://tobiaschurton.com/

You can learn more about “Aleiter Crowley in England” here.

Did you like the interview? Want to read “Aleister Crowley in England?” Good news! Inner Traditions was kind enough to send me an extra copy to give away to one of my readers! As per usual, I’ll be letting Rafflecopter do the work. The giveaway runs from 05/09/22 until 11:59pm eastern 05/13/22. The giveaway is open to people 18 year of age and older and reside in the United States. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Get your own copy here. (This is an affiliate link to my Bookshop, which supports independent bookstores throughout the United States. If you use this link to purchase the book, I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you.)

Do you enjoy The Magical Buffet? Considering supporting The Magical Buffet on Patreon! For only $5 a month you’ll receive monthly tarot/oracle forecasts, classes, and behind the scenes updates! Https://www.patreon.com/magicalbuffet

Full Bloom

As most of you know, I’m a lady that loves to eat, and a lady that loves being given an excuse to eat. So here we are, now discussing “Full Bloom: Vibrant Plant-Based Recipes for Your Summer Table” by Virpi Mikkonen.

Flipping through “Full Bloom” is like scrolling through one of those aspirational lifestyle wellness Instagram accounts. Everything looks beautiful, delicious, and maybe you don’t want to think about everything that goes into making it that way. While “Full Bloom” touts its simple recipes and easy to accommodate ingredients, I wouldn’t say this is necessarily a book for beginners. Although, if you’re willing to do a little extra shopping and put in a bit of effort, you’ll find this book is loaded with amazing summer dishes you can truly feel good about.

And don’t you worry, there are some STUPIDLY easy recipes nestled in “Full Bloom” and I made one! “3-Ingredient Brownies” is truth in advertising. Bananas, almond butter, and cacao powder go into a blender and then into the oven. Mikkonen suggests serving them with vanilla ice cream, and she is right. The brownies have a good taste to them, but are a bit dry and grainy in texture. I ate mine with plain yogurt and it made of world of difference.

If you’re looking for some inspired summertime, plant-based food and beverage ideas, I highly recommend “Full Bloom” by Virpi Mikkonen.

You can learn more here.

Get your own copy here. (This is an affiliate link to my Bookshop, which supports independent bookstores throughout the United States. If you use this link to purchase the book, I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you.)

Do you enjoy The Magical Buffet? Considering supporting The Magical Buffet on Patreon! For only $5 a month you’ll receive monthly tarot/oracle forecasts, classes, and behind the scenes updates! Https://www.patreon.com/magicalbuffet

Paganism for Prisoners

Author and High Priestess Awyn Dawn discovered Paganism while incarcerated, and with her book “Paganism for Prisoners: Connecting to the Magic Within” she seeks to help those who are currently incarcerated start their journey.

Dawn espouses that magic comes within yourself, and there is nothing like being in jail to put a fine point on that. “Paganism for Prisoners” touches on the ways you may be restricted from access to traditional tools, etc. Dawn also offers wonderful DIY ideas for substitutes. You’ll find a thoughtful discussion on ethics and personal responsibility, rituals for one or more, divination, holidays, and more.

However, the common thread is that all you really need is you. It’s for this reason that I find “Paganism for Prisoners” a compelling introduction to Paganism and witchcraft for anyone. This is absolutely, 100%, hands down one of the best Paganism/Witchcraft 101 style books I have ever read.

You can learn more here.

Get your own copy here. (This is an affiliate link to my Bookshop, which supports independent bookstores throughout the United States. If you use this link to purchase the book, I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you.)

Do you enjoy The Magical Buffet? Considering supporting The Magical Buffet on Patreon! For only $5 a month you’ll receive monthly tarot/oracle forecasts, classes, and behind the scenes updates! Https://www.patreon.com/magicalbuffet

Soul Helper Oracle

The oracle deck we’re looking at today is wonderful, but also prompted some design questions on my part. Let’s look at the “Soul Helper Oracle” by Christine Arana Fader and illustrated by Elena Dudina. If Fader’s name sounds familiar it’s because you’ve seen it before on The Magical Buffet when I held “The Battle of the Dragon Oracle Decks.” She was behind the “Dragon Wisdom” deck that was featured in that article. It was why I wanted to take a peek at Fader’s latest work with a different artist.

The illustrations for the “Soul Helper Oracle” are enchanting. I was unfamiliar with artist Elena Dudina but her rendering of environments is magical. Normally, I’m more drawn to art where a person is the centerpiece. It’s rare that my favorite cards in a deck are ones where the people are just a small part of the whole.

The deck itself is 43 cards and the guidebook offers a 21-day cycle of working with the theme of a card to explore yourself. Each card has four companions to support your work with the message of each card: a crystal, a spirit animal, a number, and a plant essence. I love how the deck is geared towards self-discovery and that Fader offers ideas to support your work. The only question I have, is with such clear ideas in mind, and a capable illustrator rendering the cards, couldn’t the crystal, spirit animal, number, and plant be incorporated into the art of each card? (Each card has a number, some have the animal, some have crystal, and some have the plant.) As it is, you need to always refer to the guidebook to see those.

Aside from that, the “Soul Helper Oracle” is a great deck for anyone looking for an oracle with beautiful artwork and is geared for exploration of the self.

You can learn more here.

Interested in getting your own copy of the “Soul Helper Oracle?” Well, I have great news for you! Inner Traditions accidentally sent me two copies of the deck, so I’m giving one away! As per usual, I’ll be using Rafflecopter for the giveaway. Residents of the United States that are 18 years of age or older can enter. Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on 04/29/2022.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Do you enjoy The Magical Buffet? Considering supporting The Magical Buffet on Patreon! For only $5 a month you’ll receive monthly tarot/oracle forecasts, classes, and behind the scenes updates! Https://www.patreon.com/magicalbuffet

Goddess Magic

It is pretty well-known that I am a sucker for goddesses. That is why I didn’t’ bother looking into the details when offer the opportunity to read “Goddess Magic: A Handbook of Spells, Charms, and Rituals Divine in Origin” by Aurora Kane.

If you’re a more cautious sort and want to know more than that the word “Goddess” is in the title, I can help you out. Now I’m not going to sit here and claim that Kane invented a whole new system of magic, however she does an excellent job explaining the best way to incorporate magical basics into working with goddesses. Where “Goddess Magic” truly excels is in the curated selection of goddesses and Kane’s great ideas to work with them. I can hear you now, “What goddesses are in the book?” I’m glad you asked!

Eos/Aurora/Tesana, Freya, Hebe/Juventas, Inanna, Venus/Aphrodite, Corn Mother, Cybele, Danu, Demeter/Ceres, Hera/Juno, Isis, Mawu, Ninhursag, Oshun, Selene, Yemaya, Amaterasu, Clementia/Eleos, Iris, Kuan Yin, Ma’at, Rhiannon, Veritas/Aletheia, Airmid, Bao Gu, Brigid, Cerridwen, Nidra, Hestia/Vesta, Gabija, Frigg, Epione, Berchta, Fortuna/Tyche, Lakshmi, Pachamama, Rosmerta, Bastet/Bast, Artemis/Diana, Durga, Lady Xian, Nike/Victoria, Tara/Sgrol-ma, Athena/Minerva, Hathor, Baubo/Iambe, Ixchel, Laetitia, and yes, there are more that I didn’t list here!

Seriously, if you are into goddesses, like I am, you NEED “Goddess Magic.” If you’re interested in incorporating goddesses into your practice, you NEED “Goddess Magic.” If you think there isn’t a goddess out there for you, you’re wrong, and you NEED “Goddess Magic.” I guess what I’m saying is that you really need “Goddess Magic” by Aurora Kane.

You can learn more here.

Get your own copy here. (This is an affiliate link to my Bookshop, which supports independent bookstores throughout the United States. If you use this link to purchase the book, I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you.)

Do you enjoy The Magical Buffet? Considering supporting The Magical Buffet on Patreon! For only $5 a month you’ll receive monthly tarot/oracle forecasts, classes, and behind the scenes updates! Https://www.patreon.com/magicalbuffet

Religious Discrimination in the Workplace

This month Rice University’s Religion and Public Life Program released a fascinating study on how different religious identities experience workplace discrimination. They drew primarily on interview data from a mixed-methods study that included a national population survey of 13,270 people as well as 194 in-depth interviews with Christians, Muslims, Jews, and nonreligious respondents. What did it show?

Nearly a third of all survey respondents from their subsample reported perceiving religious discrimination at some point in their working tenure. A larger proportion of Muslim (63 percent) and Jewish (52 percent) respondents reported religious discrimination compared with other religious groups. Additionally, perceptions of religious discrimination varied within Christian subgroups, with 36 percent of evangelical Protestants, 24 percent other Christian/other Protestants, and roughly 20 percent of Catholics and mainline Protestants each reporting religious discrimination. A little more than one quarter of all nonreligious respondents perceived religious discrimination in the workplace. It is also worth noting that respondents who perceived religious discrimination at work often reported other forms of discrimination tied to their social location. Of the 27 percent of people who reported experiencing religious discrimination, 24 percent reported experiencing one or more other forms of discrimination in the workplace. This was especially true for Muslim and Jewish respondents, of whom 60 percent and 44 percent reported experiencing other forms of discrimination, respectively.

The study discusses verbal microaggressions, stereotypes, social exclusion, othering, religious holidays, and religious symbols. All of it is interesting, but I can’t help but be drawn to the individual examples drawn from the interviews. They highlight the complicated nature of workplace discrimination, particularly with regards to religion.

One of the examples:
A white evangelical man who worked as a truck driver in Ohio described how he believed he was “let go” from a previous job after he requested not to work on Sunday mornings. Although he acknowledged this may have been because of scheduling needs, he also felt that those who made the decision “did not like me, because I was a Christian.” However, paradoxically, the same respondent shared later that he felt that Muslims in his current workplace “use their faith as a way—as a victim card, to get whatever they want,” including changes to shifts for religious reasons. Although one might expect the man to be sympathetic to Muslim requests for scheduling accommodation given his own experience, here he dismisses Muslims as being manipulative and questions their religious sincerity. He also describes how his current boss created a part-time position for him, so that he could also serve as a part-time pastor without losing regular income. However, in this case, he does not question meriting this treatment, drawing an implied distinction between himself and Muslim colleagues.

Another memorable example:
An African American mainline Protestant woman from Alabama reflected that early on in her work life, about 15 years ago, when she was an office manager of a department store, her coworkers would “insult” her by calling her “Holy Roller.” This incident seemed to be precipitated by the fact that she would be “turning my Christian music on to encourage myself and to encourage others.” The fact that her non-Christian colleagues did not appreciate this illustrates how this respondent may also have been an enactor of unwelcome behavior in the workplace.

I highly recommend reading the study. It provides some excellent viewpoints and some things to think about. You can read it here.

Do you enjoy The Magical Buffet? Considering supporting The Magical Buffet on Patreon! For only $5 a month you’ll receive monthly tarot/oracle forecasts, classes, and behind the scenes updates! https://www.patreon.com/magicalbuffet

Thrifty Witch’s Book of Simple Spells

Today we’re talking about “The Thrifty Witch’s Book of Simple Spells: Potions, Charms, and Incantations for the Modern Witch” by Wren Maple. This is certainly not the first book about affordable witchcraft practices. I’m quite the fan of “Witchcraft on a Shoestring” by Deborah Blake. Many view these sorts of books as “beginner.” However, I find there is always something to take away from books like these, and “The Thrifty Witch’s Book of Simple Spells” is no exception.

Obviously, Maple covers some basics, you have to cover the bases. But from there she offers a variety of spells in the classic categories: protection, abundance, healing/health, banishing/binding, sleep/relaxation, and psychic. Not only are they easy to understand spells, but the necessary components are simple to acquire or things you may already have. Better still, Maple reminds you that YOU are the most important component to your magic. And it all comes in a package whimsically illustrated by Tanya Jacobson.

“The Thrifty Witch’s Book of Simple Spells” by Wren Maple is a fantastic book for beginners or advanced magic practitioners. It inspires readers, or at least inspired THIS reader, to rethink the way you make magic.

You can learn more here.

Get your own copy here. (This is an affiliate link to my Bookshop, which supports independent bookstores throughout the United States. If you use this link to purchase the book, I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you.)

Do you enjoy The Magical Buffet? Considering supporting The Magical Buffet on Patreon! For only $5 a month you’ll receive monthly tarot/oracle forecasts, classes, and behind the scenes updates! Https://www.patreon.com/magicalbuffet

10 Questions with Cairelle Crow & Laura Louella (Giveaway)

What happens when you interview two different authors separately about the same thing? In this case, you find out that they really do work well together. Please enjoy this interview with Cairelle Crow and Laura Louella as we discuss the anthology book they edited, “Brigid’s Light”, and everything that entailed.

1. I’m guessing most of my readers are familiar with Brigid, but for those who are not, can you explain who she is?

Cairelle Crow: Brigid is first documented in the folklore, mythology, and spiritual traditions of the Celtic nations of Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, the Isle of Man, and Brittany, as well as in England, where she is revered at numerous sacred sites. As a pre-Christian triple goddess of Ireland, she is an object of reverence over a wide expanse of northwestern Europe. She is also well-known as St. Brigid of Kildare. It is debated whether the saint is a continuation of the goddess, or whether the goddess and saint are completely different. Either way, many of her followers accept that the goddess and saint are inextricably entwined and it’s not unusual to see a mix of both traditions within one path.

Laura Louella: Brigid is multi-faceted. She is a mother, a daughter, a goddess and a saint. Her hearth fires blaze, she is the center. She has love and cares for the less fortunate. Brigid is a healer.

2. Why out of all the deities did you choose to devote an anthology to Brigid?

Cairelle Crow: While I work with a multitude of goddesses, Brigid is my matroness goddess and I wanted to honor her.

Laura Louella: I love her, she is at the heart of my home. She is a protectress, a humanitarian, lover of animals and she knows loss and grief. She is an example of how to live life.

3. Do you find there are any prevalent misconceptions about Brigid?

Cairelle Crow: Too many people mistakenly see Brigid as a “beginner” goddess, suitable only for those who need a gentle introduction to goddess spirituality and/or paganism. Brigid is multi-faceted and stands firmly within her boundaries and sovereignty. Her stories, myths, and legends reflect strength and determination. Practitioners of any level can learn from Brigid’s example.

Laura Louella: That she is a beginner goddess and only gentle. Some fail to see her many attributes, she stood up to power, she wasn’t afraid to face the hard things. She was not concerned about being popular when caring for the needs of others. And she showed her emotions and taught us how to as well.

4. Why an anthology, or compilation, instead of an entire book authored by yourself on the subject?

Cairelle Crow: There are so many perspectives on Brigid. I thought it would be great to highlight the many ways she is experienced by others. I was also interested in how she’s made her way around the world, traveling along with immigrants and through modern technology.

Laura Louella: There are so many people who love her, we wanted all the voices to shine their light on her.

5. How did you go about soliciting contributions for “Brigid’s Light”?

Cairelle Crow: We created a detailed request for submissions on our website and shared it on social media. We also asked others that we know are devotees and we asked them to write about their experiences.

Laura Louella: We reached out to people via social media, we contacted people we have studied with, and friends.

6. “Bridgid’s Light” was edited by both of you. How did that partnership come about and how did you divide the labor?

Cairelle Crow: We met when Laura picked me up from the airport. We were attending the same event and I needed a ride! We’d known each other online previously, and a close friendship developed after a discussion of our mutual devotion to Brigid. The anthology, from start to finish, was done together over Zoom sessions with a shared screen. We work well together, we shared a lot of laughs, and thoroughly enjoyed the process!

Laura Louella: We met when I picked up Cairelle at an airport in Oregon. We had met online but never in person. As we traveled back to California, we began sharing our stories, one conversation led to another and we began speaking of our devotion to Brigid. I believe Brigid brought us together and gave us the spark of inspiration we needed for Brigid’s Light.
We worked together, since we live in different time zones, we spent a lot of time on zoom! We wrote together, we edited together, and as the submissions came in, we rejoiced together. I will tell you that Cairelle is the tech person. Without that I would have struggled greatly. She walked me through some of the IT stuff with great patience.

7. There are loads of prayers, essays, and more in “Brigid’s Light.” Do you have a few personal favorites?

Cairelle Crow: Ohhh, this is hard! I love them all so much! Some that come to mind right in this moment are the poem by NiDara, Laura’s essay about her family’s quilting tradition, and Raven Morgaine’s beautiful portrayal of Maman Brijit. I also love Maria Jones’ essay about Brigid and astrology.

Laura Louella: It is so hard to choose a favorite. The one that made me cry is the submission from Bernadette Montana entitled My Personal Relationship with Brid. The one that reminded me that Brigid is always with us, by Tara Anura, Brigid of the Ozarks gave me a sense of knowing Brigid walks with us through great challenges. Love and Honey Baked Apples by Cairelle, I can feel the love in her grandma’s kitchen. Also, Jenne Micale’s, A Prayer to Brighid in Times of Violence, so profound and right now! I cannot choose one because everyone, all of the submissions shine a beautiful light on my beloved Brigid.

8. What do you think are some of the most basic ways to honor Brigid?

Cairelle Crow: The number one most basic way that I honor Brigid is to be of service to others, in whatever way is possible. Even offering a smile to another person on the street can be uplifting. Little things really matter! Other ways are keeping a flame, tending an altar that honors her, cooking a meal for loved ones. The possibilities are near-endless. People will know best what resonates within themselves.

Laura Louella: Watching the sun rise, sitting by a river or stream, lighting a candle and saying a prayer, tending my altar where I place my sacred items honoring her, and caring for others.

9. What’s next? Do you have any upcoming projects that my readers should be aware of?

Cairelle Crow: We are currently writing a book, we are planning retreats to Ireland and Glastonbury in 2023, and we continue to work on expanding our Elements of Philanthropy and Threads of Connection projects. Details about all of this can be found on our website, www.sanctuaryofbrigid.com.

Laura Louella: So much!! We are currently writing a book proposal that we are very excited about. We are planning on taking a group of women on a retreat to Ireland and Glastonbury, details are on www.sanctuaryofbrigid.com , where people that are interested can get on a list to be contacted about details. Also, on our website there is a page called Elements of Philanthropy where we encourage acts of service to honor Brigid.

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

Cairelle Crow: Do you have a matroness goddess? If so, who?

Not a particular individual goddess. I worship the divine feminine in many aspects. My altar pays homage to Quan Yin, Kali, Santa Muerte, Medusa, and Pandora.

Laura Louella: How do you see Brigid; do you have a story or recipe or poem that honors her?

I suspect many will find it surprising that I’ve never devoted much time to Brigid. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to read “Brigid’s Light.”

About Cairelle Crow:
Cairelle Crow has walked a goddess path for more than thirty years, exploring, learning, and growing. She is a priestess, genealogist, wanderess of wild and holy places, and co-foundress of the Sanctuary of Brigid and its flame-keeping circle, Sisters of the Flame. She lectures locally, nationally, and internationally on the blending of genealogy with magic and is dedicated to connecting magical people to their ancestral truths. When she’s not roaming the world in search of grandmothers, quirky art, and stone circles, Cairelle is home in New Orleans, where she lives joyfully, loves intensely, and laughs frequently with beloved family and friends. You can find her online at www.cairellecrow.com.

About Laura Louella:
Laura Louella is a priestess, certified Pilates instructor committed to teaching the strength that lies within, and the owner of Goddess Pilates, where she blends the art of sacred movement with the beauty of the goddess. She is also the co-foundress of the Sanctuary of Brigid and its flame-keeping circle, Sisters of the Flame. Many days, you can find her tending her garden, taking long walks through the forest, sitting by the river, or creating a quilt on her 1936 Featherweight Singer sewing machine. Laura lives in the Cascade Mountains of northern California.

You can learn more here.

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