Strange Frequencies

Can you build a golem such as the ones found in Jewish folklore? That’s the question that launches Peter Bebergal’s new book “Strange Frequencies: The Extraordinary Story of the Technological Quest for the Supernatural”.

“Strange Frequencies” follows Bebergal as he travels to Seattle to learn about and build automatons. He spends time in Cambridge to discuss stage magic with actor/magician Nate Dendy who plays Ariel in the American Repertory Theater’s production of “The Tempest”. He attends a traditional Spiritualist séance in Lily Dale, NY with photographer Shannon Taggart. Bebergal explores EVP (electronic voice phenomena) and experiences machines designed to facilitate enlightenment. Throughout these adventures Bebergal explores the origins of the DIY/Maker movement and the effect it has had on the exploration of the spiritual.

“Strange Frequencies” is an amazing exploration of the technological influencing the spiritual and the spiritual inspiring the technological. This is a must read.

You can learn more here.

Mindfulness and Mobile Devices

By Sunny Chayes

Often what comes to mind when I think of my iPhone is how mindful it really isn’t. I think of the many times the person with whom I am sharing a meal has picked up their phone to make a call or look something up on the internet or to return a TEXT. Sadly, I also must consider the times I have done it to others.

As our minds are being sucked ever more deeply into the electronic never world, is it possible that these same little mobile instigators could possibly help us recover some of the precious mindfulness that is lost to them? A slew of mobile app developers thinks so.

Here are some suggestions. If we are going to spend some time, and potentially some money, on mindfulness apps, you might consider these.

Headspace and Calm: (https://www.headspace.com), (https://www.calm.com/)
We are lumping them together because they are both wonderful apps that offer very similar things. While there are subtle differences between what they offer, both are lovely. Many reviewers say that it comes down to the meditation guide’s voice that one prefers. Headspace uses the Buddhist trained, proper English voice of Andy Puddicombe while Calm uses the well-regarded female voice of Tamara Lovett. Both have free/trial versions of the app, so it may be great to try them both for a week at a time. Both apps are beautifully designed, yet very far apart in graphical taste. If you are visually driven person, you might find your preference of aesthetics to be your main decision driver.

The Goodness: For guided meditations, they’re beautifully effective for a combination of ease-of-use and quality.

The Drawbacks: Pricey compared to other options.

Perfect for you If: You are looking for a meditation app which provides a curated, high-quality guided meditations for adults or children, and you are not particularly price conscious. Price for full version – $12.95/mo for Calm, $12.99/mo For Headspace.

Insight Timer: (https://insighttimer.com/)
If you are a fan of guided meditations, but don’t enjoy paying the premium price, Insight Timer is your app. The trade off here is that Insight Timer is an open platform for seemingly anyone to post a meditation. It is up to you to choose wisely. The brilliance of the open platform is that there are literally thousands of meditations to choose from and many of those are extremely high-quality. A premium version of Insight Timer allows you to download your favorites for offline use and the app also offers premium 10-day courses ranging from “Learn to Mindfully Manage Stress and Anxiety” to “Heal Through the Power of Sound.”

The Goodness: The best app around for a large selection of guided meditations without the premium design and hand holding.

The Drawbacks: Requires a bit more investment of time to get what you are looking for.

Perfect for you If: You are looking for high quality guided meditations and don’t mind spending some time searching for teachers or meditation guides that suit your tastes and needs. Insight Timer is entirely free for the basic version. Premium — $4.99/mo and 10-day courses are $4.99 each.

Vibe: (https://vibe.me/)
The Vibe app takes a different approach to mindfully enabling your device. This app focuses on providing daily guidance in addition to meditation. The company has recruited a fairly impressive group of ‘thought leaders’ in mindfulness and spirituality who guide users with “light touch messaging” throughout the day. The messaging includes a daily post, short meditations and periodic reminders of the daily post called “Vibes,” which pop up a few times during the day. According to the app’s website, this method of integrating a single mindfulness principle into your life each day can have profound effects on happiness, well being, even quality of sleep with minimal time commitment from the user. The app also includes a basic meditation timer for those who already know the basics of meditation.

The Goodness: Perspective-changing daily guidance from thought leaders in mindfulness and spirituality.

The Drawbacks: It would be great to see a solid library of guided meditations with this app. I understand the guided meditations will be coming soon. In the meantime, perhaps combine with Insight Timer for guided meditations.

Perfect for you If: You are a busy person and want to advance your mindfulness with less time per day. Free 7-day trial and then $2.99/mo.

Muse: (https://choosemuse.com)

If you struggle with meditation (Inside secret – most of us do. It’s part of the process) and feel that you just can’t quiet your mind enough to find your inner peace, then you might want to check out Muse. Muse is not primarily an app — the centerpiece of this technology is the biofeedback headband which doubles as a headset (for sound). The headband works with the Muse app which effectively runs the device. When you meditate with the headband, Muse plays meditative sounds such as birds chirping, as well as listens to the activity in your brain. If your brain is too active (sometimes called “monkey brain”), the built-in headset provides an audible change in the sounds to something less calming, such as traffic or loud waves crashing. As you return your mind to a meditative state, the app provides the positive feedback to the brain in by returning to the gentler, more meditative sounds.

The Good: Tests have shown that the Muse actually works in helping people relax more quickly into a meditative state.

The Drawbacks: If you are serious about learning to meditate, learning to coexist with your thoughts is largely the point. Depending on a crutch might be counterproductive.

Perfect for you if: You are beginning to meditate and struggle more than most with monkey brain, this might be the shortcut you are looking for. $200 on Amazon.

How lovely it is that these creative companies used what is so ubiquitous in our culture to connect us deeply within ourselves. How cool is that?

About Sunny Chayes:
Sunny Chayes is an Author, a Sacred Social Activist, Host of The Sunny Chayes Show enjoyed on IHeartRadio, ITunes, ABC Talk/News, Mindalia TV and UBN Radio and Chief Strategic Partner and Feature Writer for Whole Life Times. http://www.YouTube/sunnychayes

The Real Witches of New England

I’m nosey. I’m super interested in people’s lives, particularly spiritual leaders and magic users. So, you can understand why it was impossible to resist Ellen Evert Hopman’s latest book “The Real Witches of New England: History, Lore, and Modern Practice”. It is a big ol’ book of interviews and biographies of modern-day witches and people who were accused of being witches in the still too recent for comfort past.

The first part of the book is dedicated to the history of witch persecutions. It’s a concise round up of who was targeted, why there was witch paranoia, where there was witch hysteria, and what actual witches were doing during this period. This next part is truly inspired. You can find loads of books with biographies of people accused of witchcraft, however what Hopman has done is not only provide you with their biographies, but also includes interviews with their modern-day descedants. She asks them questions such as were they always aware they were descended from an accused witch, how do they define witchcraft, and do they practice themselves.

Lastly, and my favorite part, is a whose who of contemporary witches of New England. There are some big names, such as Raven Grimassi, Christopher Penczak, and Christian Day, and many that were new to me. Hopman conducted email interviews with 25 different people. By asking a relatively consistent set of questions of each person it gives you a unique perspective of the various ways people define and practice witchcraft. I do have one question though, she interviewed Christopher Penczak and Adam Sartwell, two of the three founding members of the Temple of Witchcraft, why not also include Steve Kenson, the third founder and all around magical bad ass? Seriously, his absence totally stuck out to me. (What can I say, I’m a ride or die Kenson girl!)

I can’t imagine who wouldn’t love “The Real Witches of New England”. Hopman has managed to put all New England’s witchcraft history, and its future, into one enjoyable book. I only hope she does more books like this focusing on other geographic areas.

To learn more, visit here.

Rise Up, Heathen Priestess: She Lives in the Wilds

By Danielle Dulsky

Our human divinity is bone-deep, lit by the red light of our souls’ truth and sourced straight from the cosmic womb. I have an insatiable hunger for Her fierce mother-love, as I believe all members of our global collective do, and I am calling out and calling on all wild Priestesses of our world to join me in Her resurrection. I am howling from the dark depths of every forest, and I am crooning a siren’s song from every body of water I can find. I am seeking you out, the wild woman who is through making apologies for her own divinity, the Witch who is handcrafting her own religion stitched from her own truth, and the blessed incarnation of every human being who can still feel Her. I will speak to you directly, for you are a Wolf-Woman of my bloodline and we share the same language, the heathen Mother Tongue of the wild word.

I hereby vow to validate your experience, your spiritual autonomy, and your magickal agency as we walk this misty and uncertain path together, and I will not ask you to sacrifice anything you know to be sacred. I do not assume that your life matches mine, and it is the uniqueness of our lived experiences of Her that will truly nourish the divine feminine in us all, rather than the bland and bleached homogenization of the Goddess experience.

As women of the wild, we deserve our own holy books, our own teaching tales, and our own venerable verses of validation. The spiritual wisdom of the feminine has always been born of lived experience, and the hooded Crone in all of us knows that her truth, her cyclical ways, are unique to her and her alone. The her-stories I offer here have merit only in their meeting with your own life; they do not stand alone as immutable truths or a step-by-step path toward any lofty and permanent healing goal, nor do they assert any secret mysteries that I alone am privileged to know. Without their soul-specific relationship with your memories, passions, woundings, and core values, Priestess, these verses are only words. Without your willful exploration of how the feminine archetypes I discuss in this heathens’ bible live and breathe within your own psyche, their names remain merely the default teaching tools used by outmoded traditions that have long required feminine shame to survive.

The women who have been locked inside the books they called good deserve liberation from their externally imposed immorality. We must unlock the cages in which they have been contained for so long, trapped behind the iron bars of judgment and dismissal. We women of this evolving world are tasked with their redemption, for they are we. We share the scars of every woman who has been condemned to ever be spiritually imprisoned, and, in these pages, I offer all the primal feminine technology this Witch has in her toolbox to dismantle the indoctrinated beliefs that continue to limit our spiritual autonomy; divorce our bodies from our spirits; and fence in what is, by nature, untamed, heathen, and wild.

The roots of the word heathen run far deeper than its derogatory, godless connotation; it is believed to come from the Germanic word meaning “dweller on the heath, one inhabiting uncultivated land.” To be heathen means to belong to the wild, to take our lessons from the natural world, and to be nourished by what we fundamentally are rather than what we are told we must be. Let me distinguish here between Heathenry, a polytheistic neo-Pagan religion for which I have much reverence but to which I do not belong, and the eclectic pre-Christian landscape of our ancestors. To be heathen is to remember the rawestessence of our worth, what is most authentically human about this flesh-and-blood body we find ourselves in, and what is left when our most carefully constructed psychic temples, those long-held belief systems that once served us so well, crumble into dust. Every one of our bloodlines is rooted in an Earth-based tradition if we only follow our lineage back far enough, and every one of our souls longs to come home to the wilds.

About Danielle Dulsky:
Danielle Dulsky is the author of “The Holy Wild” and “Woman Most Wild”. She is an artist, yoga teacher, energy worker, and founder of Living Mandala Yoga teacher training programs. She leads women’s circles, witchcraft workshops, and energy healing trainings and lives in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. Find out more about her online at www.DanielleDulsky.com.

Excerpted from the book “The Holy Wild: A Heathen Bible for the Untamed Woman”. Copyright ©2018 by Danielle Dulsky. Printed with permission from New World Library — www.newworldlibrary.com

Santa Muerte Oracle

With tomorrow being Dia de Muertos it seems like the perfect time to talk about the “Santa Muerte Oracle” by Fabio Listrani (since according to R. Andrew Chesnut it’s becoming a “feast day” for Santa Muerte devotees).

There is a lot to unpack with this deck, and all of it is good. First, I must address the packaging. A solid box that the top pulls up from. Inside an actual booklet as opposed to those flimsy pamphlets you often get. Lastly, a ribbon to help you remove the cards from the box. All of these helps prevent wear and tear on the deck unlike the form fitting, thin cardboard sleeve style boxes that other decks have come in.

The artwork is striking. The deck contains 32 cards, divided into 4 parts: Emanation, Creation, Formation, and Action. Each part has its own style. There’re more than just images of Santa Muerte, but also Dias de los Muertos imagery, and assorted deities. Did Listrani use this bold style in his previous deck “The Santa Muerte Tarot”? Sadly, I missed out on that one, so I’m unsure.

Speaking of Listrani’s previous deck, the book included with the “Santa Muerte Oracle”, implies this deck could be used in addition to the “Santa Muerte Tarot”. Since I just have the Oracle, let’s focus on all the great ways you can use the deck!

Like most decks, this one features a simple 3 card reading. Personally, with oracle decks I like to do a one card draw reading. Listrani mentions using the deck for an “inspirational” card. This is where you search the deck for a card that you feel represents an energy you feel you need. Then you can carry it on you as a reminder or talisman throughout the day or keep it in sight for the day. This inspired me to put one of the cards on my home altar. The last way you can use this deck is the best, because this:

Can become this:

The deck. Becomes. A Ouija board. Boom. Mic drop. We’re done here.

Learn more about this deck here.

Spirits in Stone

“Spirits in Stone: The Secrets of Megalithic America (Decoding the Ancient Cultural Stone Landscapes of the Northeast)” by Glenn Kreisberg was quite an eye-opening read. Honestly, I read it thinking I would learn there was some giant Stonehenge like structure just down the road from me. Let me go ahead spoil it for you, there isn’t. However, I did learn there is a surprising amount of fascinating stone artifacts all over the northeast, and that there is an inherent bias in the archaeological community as to their importance and the need to study and preserve them.

Fortunately, Kreisberg and the New England Antiquities Research Association finds these sites, studies them, and works with others to get them protected. In the process, they’ve learned there is more to these stones than just their age. “Spirits in Stone” shares their reports from many of these locations. I’m not going to lie, it can be rather dry reading but I still enjoyed it and feel it’s an important book.

To learn more, visit here.

Fat Man Blues

Review by James Garside

Would you sell your soul to the Devil? At what price? How about if you knew you were dying and didn’t have long to live? It’s not like the dead have anything left to lose. But if the Devil’s so interested in your immortal soul that he’s willing to offer you anything in return then maybe, just maybe, someone’s getting fucked on the deal.

Hobo John is a terminally-ill English guy, with a troubled past, whose bucket list is all about the blues. He’s a blues aficionado on a journey across Mississippi to see what is considered by many to be the birth place of the blues. Delta Blues came from the Mississippi Delta and is one of the earliest styles of blues music.

On a drunken night in Clarksdale Hobo John enters into a Faustian pact with a devilish character, called Fat Man, who makes him an offer that he can’t refuse. In exchange for his life, which is at its end anyway, he must cross over to the afterlife of the Mississippi Delta to record blues artists both famous and unknown from the 1930s.

It’s a real ‘devil at the crossroads’ moment but, unlike Vegas, what happens at the crossroads doesn’t stay there. To begin with Hobo John has a blast hanging out with the souls of dead musicians but working for Fat Man is dirty business, with untold consequences, and there’s always a price to be paid.

There’s much more to the story, including twists and turns that I don’t want to spoil here, but the plot isn’t really the point. It’s all about the music. You don’t have to be a blues fan to enjoy the story but you’ll sure as hell learn a lot about the blues along the way.

Robert Johnson fans will especially get a kick out of it as they catch references to songs like “Crossroad Blues,” “Me and the Devil Blues,” and “Hellhound on My Trail.” Legend has it that in the Deep South in the 1930s Robert Johnson met the Devil at the crossroads and sold his soul to become the greatest Delta Blues artist that ever lived.

The author may spit at me for saying this but, at least structurally, the book has much in common with Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder. In that book the story is used as a way to give you a history of philosophy whereas here a similar conceit is used to give you a taste of the blues. Just enough to wet your whistle — like drinking whisky straight from the bottle.

Richard Wall writes like a motherfucker. I mean that in a good way. He’s clearly passionate about the blues and has a deep knowledge of music history and blues lore. I’d love for the novel to be released as a dramatised audiobook with an accompanying soundtrack featuring Delta Blues songs hand-picked by the author.

Fat Man Blues is a wild ride. It’s violent and bloody in parts but the writing is tight and visceral and remains faithful to, and worthy of, the music that inspired it.

You can buy the book here ( or here in the U.S.) and check out his other work at richardwall.org

About James Garside:
James Garside is an independent journalist and writer. You can find him at his website jamesgarside.net and chat with him on Twitter.

Finger Prints and Phantoms

It’s hard to reinvent the wheel when it comes to “true tales of the paranormal”. And I’m not here to tell you that “Finger Prints and Phantoms: True Tales of Law Enforcement Encounters with the Paranormal and Strange” by Paul Rimmasch does that. However, I’m happy to tell you all the wonderful that it is.

“Finger Prints and Phantoms” has loads, 26 to be exact, of assorted stories of a paranormal theme. Rimmasch, a crime scene investigator by day, has a real knack for storytelling. It seems like he’d be a good guy to join for a beer. Now although his book doesn’t reinvent the wheel, Rimmasch’s background, and access to the police, does allow him to give the reader a unique perspective on the day to day life and workings of a police officer. And THAT was just as interesting, if not even more, than the stories contained within.

If you enjoy tales of the paranormal, and would like a bit of insight into police life, I would recommend checking out “Finger Prints and Phantoms” by Paul Rimmasch.

You can learn more about it here.

10 Questions with Mitch Horowitz

1. Your latest book is “The Miracle Club: How Thoughts Become Reality”, so let’s address the 30 million copy selling elephant in the room. How does your book differ from “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne?

I applaud Rhonda’s achievements but her book leaves unsettled the real elephant in the room—which is the persistence of tragedy and catastrophe; what happens when mind-power methods appear not to work; and a theory of why thoughts makes things happen. The Miracle Club is, I hope, a complete journey into all facets of the seeker’s experience. It revives the serious and critical interpretation of New Thought methods that I think we haven’t seen since the death of William James in 1910.

2. What sparked your interest in New Thought?

I came to realize at a certain point in my life, even as I couldn’t always admit it to myself, that my spiritual search is really a search for personal power and agency; I yearned for a spirituality that was, above all, practical and actionable. Some people may be turned off by that, and may feel that I’ve entirely missed the point of the search. But I submit that this is what most of us are after, regardless of what we tell ourselves. New Thought meets the seeker in that place, while also holding to ethical standards.

3. Do you feel like there is a convenient excuse of victim blaming in positive thought circles? Like the chronic pain sufferer who doesn’t experience improvement, they just didn’t want it enough?

Although there isn’t as much “victim blaming” in New Thought circles as critics suppose (often critics who have never attended a single church service or read their way through a New Thought book), some of this does persist. There’s no denying it. My contention is that we live under many laws and forces, of which the mind is one vital part. New Thoughters need to use this idea to develop a theology of suffering, which is something we’ve never fully done. This is increasingly important today as people are dealing with end-of-life issues that weren’t as prevalent at the movement’s founding more than a century ago.

4. You discuss the importance of establishing a moral code before undertaking positive thought work. Why is that?

It’s very easy to fall into an attitude of soft hedonism when using New Thought methods. I’ve done it myself. In order to go through life in a manner that is nonviolent—by which I mean not violating other people’s ability to pursue their own highest aims—it is vital to have some code of honor or ethical or religious teaching at your back. This is one area in which New Thought excels because it stands on gospel ethics.

5. In your book you describe the hypnagogic state, something I’ve never encountered before. Can you explain what it is for my readers and its importance in New Thought?

This is the extremely relaxed state that we all enter just before drifting off to sleep at night or when coming to in the morning. It is a state of mind that can seem dreamy and hallucinogenic, yet one in which we remain cognizant and able to direct our attention. Both sleep researchers and psychical experimenters have discovered that the mind is extremely supple, suggestible, and sensitive at such times. This is a natural state in which to use affirmations, visualizations, intentions, and prayers. It is a time when you can impress your subconscious mind with an idea, so to speak. In The Miracle Club I maintain that it is also “prime time” in which episodes of extra-physicality have been found to occur, such as mind-to-mind communication or telepathy. This is not fantasy. It is a cycle that comes to all of us naturally, and it can be used.

6. If I recall correctly, didn’t President Trump come up through a prosperity ministry, a branch of the positive thought family tree? Can we attribute any of his success/survival to this?

Yes, the Trump family was close to the Rev. Norman Vincent Peale (1898-1993), author of The Power of Positive Thinking. There’s no question that Trump has used and harnessed these methods, but without ethics. His life is the story of the unprincipled pursuit of power. This is why I alluded above to the need for a serious ethical code. But do not despair. As the saying goes, “Use the force, Luke.”

7. Is it possible for someone to be using the power of positive thought without training or structure, just through their own force of will?

Absolutely. The poet William Blake did this. Figures throughout history realized organically that thought possesses causative dimensions, and acted on this without naming or devising a system. Blake famously wrote that if “the doors of perception were cleansed” we could see life in its infinitude. That statement more or less captures the theology of Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science.

8. When you’re not busy thinking positively, what do you do with your time?

I wish I were always busy thinking positively! I came to this philosophy because I am not a positive thinker by nature, so it’s a real challenge for me. But mostly I raise my two boys, ages 11 and 14, I write, I bike and exercise, and I hang with people I love. I watch very little TV (with the exception of Rachel Maddow and Better Call Saul). I do like to hang with close friends, eat a bit, and imbibe nature’s pleasures.

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

One of the projects I’m excited about is a movie version of the occult book The Kybalion, which I’m working on with my friend Ronni Thomas, a brilliant director whose work has been featured at the Tribeca Film Festival and who is known, among other things, for the digital series Midnight Archive. Ronni and I are making a documentary-style feature about this book, exploring its historical backstory and illuminating its principles.

Parting shot! Ask us here at The Magical Buffet any one question?

It is same the question I ask myself: What do you want?

I always tell people who asked me this that I want world peace and a body like Cindy Crawford’s. And that is as true today as when I said it in junior high school. However given the nature of your book, I’m going to tell you what I really want (what I really, really want) (the Spice Girls cannot be denied). I’d like to make a comfortable living doing The Magical Buffet, which is getting to share all the great books, products, and people I enjoy with everyone else.

About Mitch Horowitz:
Mitch Horowitz is a PEN Award-winning historian, longtime publishing executive, and a leading New Thought commentator with bylines in The New York Times, Time, Politico, Salon, and The Wall Street Journal and media appearances on Dateline NBC, CBS Sunday Morning, All Things Considered, and Coast to Coast AM. He is the author of several books, including Occult America and One Simple Idea. He lives in New York City. Visit him at https://mitchhorowitz.com/.

Find Your Goddess

Skye Alexander, author of “Find Your Goddess: How to Manifest the Power and Wisdom of the Ancient Goddesses in Your Everyday Life”, unsurprisingly wants you to find and work with a goddess or two. In her latest book she doesn’t spend loads of time convincing you of this, instead she lets the goddesses themselves do the talking and the teaching.

“Find Your Goddess” offers a diverse selection of profiles for approximately 75 goddesses. Each entry gives a brief overview of the history and mythology and her virtues. Then Alexander discusses how you can manifest their power. With a variety of female deities ranging from Persephone to Mama Quilla you’re bound to find at least one, if not many goddesses that resonate with you. “Find Your Goddess” is a great jumping off point to find goddesses you want to research, but it also is great for those just looking to explore a wider variety of female deities.

Learn more here.

Due to some confusion over shipping I ended up with two copies of this little gem, so I’ll be giving one away to you! We’re doing the Rafflecopter thing again! Contest is open October 15, 2018 until 11:59 P.M. Eastern Saturday, October 20, 2018. Must be 16 years or older to enter. Open internationally. Not sponsored by any social media service including Facebook.

a Rafflecopter giveaway