International Talk Like a Pirate Day 2019

Ahoy mateys! It be International Talk Like a Pirate Day! A day to celebrate pirates of the past, and it’s a high holy day for the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster! This holiday has been acknowledged on The Magical Buffet website nearly every year since we switched to the blog format! As the holiday approached, I did an informal poll on social media as to whether I should bother with the holiday, and if so, what I should say.

In a not so surprising turn, everyone wants to see some rum! Of course, then I was left wondering what rum thing I was going to write. As with all matter’s alcohol, I turned to the Master Po to my Kwai Chang Caine, Warren Bobrow. (You may remember we spoke about rum on a previous International Talk Like a Pirate Day.) I reached for “The Craft Cocktail Compendium” he wrote and found what I was looking for!

Sailor’s Friend
This toddy is built with simple, honest materials that haven’t changed much over the years: hot water, a large dose of spiced rum, and lemon – a trinity that can’t help but hasten the old closed-eye relaxation. And we have seamen of yore to thank for the popularity: Sailors whose watch was scheduled for the middle of the night would have to force themselves to sleep during the day, whether they liked it or not. This historically accurate toddy would have been a sailor’s best friend when cold, misty weather made it difficult to get some shut-eye. Plus, honey has been used as an expectorant since Roman times. Today, it’s still a powerful ally against scratchy sore throats and those pesky, chesty coughs that can keep you tossing and turning at night.


Turns out the recipe is super easy. Warm up a mug with hot water. Dump out the water. Pour yourself 3 ounces of dark, spiced rum. Top off your mug some more boiling water. Add honey to taste and lemon to prevent scurvy!


Considering how long I’ve been a rum drinker, it’s incredible that I’ve never tried a toddy type rum drink before. It’s delicious! Also, warm lemon smells delicious. Every time I put the mug to my lips I inhale deeply. I suspect I’ll be drinking these all winter long.

And there ye’ have it me hardies, rum for International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Consider showing the always amazing Warren Bobrow some love by checking out his books on IndieBound.org! (These are affiliate links to IndieBound, which supports independent bookstores throughout the United States. If you use these links to purchase a book, I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you.)

Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics
Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics

The Craft Cocktail Compendium
The Craft Cocktail Compendium

Apothecary Cocktails
Apothecary Cocktails

Women of the Reformation

The latest issue of Christian History Magazine is available now. I wanted to bring it to your attention due to its look at women who played a role in well, Christian history.

This issue, #131, titled: Women of the Reformation: Lesser-known stories, features women who are not as well known, including a printer, Margarethe Prüss; preachers, Katherine Schütz Zell and Marie Dentière; pamphlet writer, Argula von Grumbach; mystic, Ursula Jost and others, alongside Katie Luther, who pioneered the brand new role/profession of pastor’s wife and Anna Bullinger, whose husband Heinrich’s courtship letters formed the basis of the only lengthy excerpt from a male theologian in this issue.

Prominent queens of the sixteenth century are included in the issue, such as Marguerite de Navarre and Jeanne d’Albret of France and all the six wives of England’s Henry VIII – the three Catherines, two Annes, one Jane and his two daughters, Mary and Elizabeth.

Articles in this issue are:

No simple story by Jennifer Powell McNutt – How women’s roles changed in the sixteenth century

“Honorable and holy” by Heinrich Bullinger – Bullinger’s book on Christian marriage was a best-seller

Like mother, like daughter? By S. Amanda Eurich – Marguerite de Navarre and Jeanne d’Albret shaped French religion for generations

“A very useful epistle”: Marie Dentière by Mary B. McKinley – In 2002 Dentière received belated recognition; her name was added to the Wall of the Reformers in Geneva.

Our first woman reformer by Peter Matheson – Argula von Grumbach proclaimed “no woman’s chit-chat, but the Word of God”

Not a soap opera by Calvin Lane – The women of the English Reformation were active participants in a theological drama

She would follow only Christ by Elsie McKee – From pamphlet writing to pastoral counsel, Katharina Schütz Zell fought for her right to speak

“Christ is the master”: Margaret Blaurer by Edwin Woodruff Tait – Blaurer was of use to the church as a single woman.

Dangerous pamphlets by Kirsi Stjerna – Margarethe Prüss helped advance the radical Reformation through her publishing

“God my Lord is even stronger” by Rebecca Giselbrecht – Exemplary women of the Reformation with confidence in their convictions

“The gates of Hell cannot prevail” by Argula von Grumbach – Von Grumbach’s letter to the University of Ingolstadt protesting the arrest and exile of Arsacius Seehofer for holding Lutheran views, excerpted here, became her most famous and best-selling piece of writing

Issue #131, contains 14 feature articles and shorter side-bar articles; a chronology timeline; an archive of rare artwork & photos; a ‘letter to the editor’ section and an extensive reading list compiled by the CH editorial staff. The magazine is available on-line and can be conveniently read on screen at: https://christianhistoryinstitute.org/magazine.

10 Questions with Mallorie Vaudoise

Today we’re talking with Mallorie Vaudoise, author of “Honoring Your Ancestors”. We talk about family, mediumship, Italian magic, and more!

1. What is ancestor veneration?

Any spiritual practice that connects us with the people who were here before us is a form of ancestor veneration. This could take the form of prayer, ritual, and offerings. Or it could take the form of genealogical research, cooking traditional foods, and playing folk music.

Ancestor veneration is found throughout the world. Even within our own culture, which I consider spiritually impoverished, we still see the impulse to hold funerary rituals, create memorials, and leave offerings of flowers at cemeteries.

My book is about adding new depth and color to these simple actions. It’s also about grounding your magical practice in a loving relationship with these powerful spirits who have a vested interest in you as their descendant.

2. What sparked your interest in working with ancestors?

I was a weird kid. Some of that weirdness was unique to me. But in retrospect, some of it was a failure to integrate messages that I was receiving from spirits through mediumship. I didn’t have a framework for understanding the weird physical and emotional sensations that I now associate with spirit contact. And yet, there were some things that I could perceive, like the presence of my great-grandparents around me.

As an adult, I became involved in two lineages of African-diasporic traditions. Both traditions required me to undergo rituals aimed at nourishing and seeking the blessing of my ancestors before I could be initiated. They gave me a practical understanding of the phenomena that I had experienced throughout my life. It was life changing. I wanted to share the gift of ancestral consciousness with other people, outside of any traditional lineage. That’s why I wrote the book: as a guide for people who don’t have the benefit of a tradition or teacher, so they can find their own path. Or for people who are working within a tradition but want to further develop their ancestor veneration practice into something more personal.

3. In your book you explain there are different types of ancestors. Can you explain this for our readers?

When we think of ancestors, sometimes we assume these are always blood relations. I definitely think there is an inherent power in connecting with your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. because they made your body with their bodies. So, as ancestors, they are connected to the great Mysteries of incarnation: birth, death, and rebirth.

But there are other types of ancestors that we may honor as well. For example, the ancestors of an initiatic lineage might consider you their descendant as much as your blood ancestors if you ritually died and were reborn as their godchild. We also have connections to ancestors that come about without ritual initiation that I refer to as “affinity ancestors”. And of course, there are other spirits of dead humans that we might incorporate into our ancestor veneration practice, like saints and spirit guides.

At the end of the day, they’re your ancestors. You get to decide who you honor and how. You’re already the high priest/ess of this religion. That means you have the power and the responsibility to honor them in a way that works for both sides of the equation.

4. Can ancestor veneration be incorporated into any spiritual practice?

If you’ve got ancestors, you can venerate them. How you do it and how it relates to your other spiritual practices is entirely up to you.

5. Is making offerings a requirement of ancestor veneration? What constitutes an offering?

I don’t think there are any universal requirements in ancestor veneration. But offerings can be profoundly meaningful for many people, especially for those of us who were raised never to show up to a party empty-handed.

An offering is anything given as a gift to your ancestors. This could be incense, food, or flowers. It could be the sacrifice of time or money to charity. I consider writing this book the biggest offering I’ve made to the ancestors to date.

6. You talk about mediumship as part of ancestor veneration in the book. What is mediumship?

Ancestor veneration is a two-way street. If prayers and offerings are communication in one direction, then mediumship is communication in the other direction.

Unlike other spirits, our ancestors were all once human. They remember what it’s like to have a body, to go hungry, to fall in love, to stub their toes, to feel feelings, and to have dreams. Just like us, they once chose to come here and learn the lessons that can only be learned through a human body. But their day was different from our day, and their lessons where different from our lessons. Through mediumship, they can share their learnings with us so we can be free to focus on the new lessons we have come here to experience.

7. Can anyone perform mediumship, or do you need to have special gifts to do it?

Anyone can perform mediumship. But what that looks like for you may differ from what it looks like for me. Some people see spirits. Some people hear them. I am always shocked to find how many people feel them physically like I do.

I’ve met mediums who can give hard facts, like names and dates, through mediumship. I’m not that type of medium. But names and dates wouldn’t be terribly helpful for me anyway. I need guidance on how to accomplish the unique work that my spirit chose to incarnate for. Names and dates aren’t going to help me with that.

Mediumship is like any other skill. Anyone can do it. Not everyone can do it in the same way. But ultimately, if you want to get better at it, you have to practice it.

8. You have a beautiful website, Italian Folk Magic. What inspired you to create a site devoted to the subject matter?

I’m Italian-American. Growing up, it felt like my family was haunted by Italy. I was raised with stories about how difficult my grandparents and great-grandparents’ lives were, both in Italy and when they immigrated to the United States. But at the same time, it was almost taboo to talk about our heritage. That tension between the depth of gratitude that I was taught to show and the shame my family had acquired about our roots led me to go searching for our ancestral traditions. I wanted to find the things we had sacrificed to become American: the passion, the ecstasy, the magic.

At the time, there were very few resources on the topic in English. Now, I see more and more Italian-Americans proudly embracing their heritage in the form of traditional herbalism, devotion to the saints, and yes, folk magic. I like to think my site played a small part in inspiring other Italian-Americans to explore their roots.

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

Right now, I’m focused on getting Honoring Your Ancestors to as many people as possible. Your readers can stay a part of that conversation by following me on Instagram and Facebook.

I think of myself as a missionary for the spirit world. I started with the ancestors because people were already asking me about them. But I’d like to start writing more about other types of spirits: spirits of place, for example. Ultimately, the goal of all of my projects is to remind people that they are not alone. We are all connected with each other and with a vast ecosystem which includes every other living organism as well as discarnate spirits.

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

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from a dead person?

“Don’t check the value of your retirement accounts daily, it will just make you crazy. You’ve got a long time to retirement.” That’s what my father always said, and now my day job is working for a financial advisor and seriously, a lot of people would be a lot happier if they followed this advice.

About Mallorie Vaudoise:
Mallorie Vaudoise is a NYC-based spiritualist of Italian descent. She is the author of Honoring Your Ancestors: A Guide to Ancestral Veneration (Llewellyn, 2019) and Italian Folk Magic, a blog about devotional practices from Southern Italy and Sicily. She is an initiated Olorisha (Orisha priestess) and an apprentice in the ecstatic music and dance traditions of her ancestors. She believes that music, food, wine, and kissing are vital tools of spiritual evolution. Visit Mallorie online at www.roadsideomens.com or follow her Instagram account @honoringyourancestors.

<---Shop your local indie bookstoreThis is an affiliate link to IndieBound, 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.

Backwoods Witchcraft

“Backwoods Witchcraft: Conjure & Folk Magic from Appalachia” by Jake Richards paints a vivid picture of life in Appalachia. He pulls you into a land of rough living, enchanted untouched places, folklore, and magical practices. A place where the Bible is equal parts magical text and religious philosophy.

“Backwoods Witchcraft” is written in a conversational tone. Although Richards divided the book into sections, you’ll find quite a bit of overlap in subject matter. This can be forgiven because as you read you’ll find that Appalachian folk magic infuses everything in the practitioner’s life; from the foods you choose to eat to the clothes you opt to wear.

Personally, I loved reading about how the Bible is used for magical incantation. It made me look at the Bible with fresh eyes. “Backwoods Witchcraft” is also loaded with tons of little things you could incorporate into your everyday life. However, Richards wrote the book in the hopes that others would pick up the torch of Appalachian folk magic, a magic that is apparently dying out in practice in its traditional homeland.

“Backwoods Witchcraft” is a well-written, entertaining, and informative read.

You can learn more here.

Shop your local indie bookstore <---This is an affiliate link to IndieBound, 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.

Familiars in Witchcraft

When I saw “Familiars in Witchcraft: Supernatural Guardians in the Magical Traditions of the World” by Maja D’Aoust I knew I wanted to read it. Who doesn’t love learning about those adorable animal familiars? In retrospect, it was a pretty myopic view. Fortunately, D’Aoust opened my eyes into what makes a familiar.

There’s so much more in the world to be considered a “familiar” than your typical black cat. D’Aoust takes a truly global approach to the conversation. Her discussion of Greek belly-talkers and sibyls and the source of their powers was eye-opening. The examination of the role of angels in Judeo-Christianity was something I never considered before as a “familiar” relationship. D’Aoust also looks at fairies, familiars in Chinese legend, and even their appearance in India. I also want to mention that the author’s own artwork is used throughout the book. It’s unusual that the author provides their own art, and in this case helps bring extra vitality to her words.

“Familiars in Witchcraft” is wonderful, global look at what defines a familiar and how that title is mutable depending on culture. A worthwhile read for all those interested in spirit.

You can learn more here.

Shop your local indie bookstore<---This is an affiliate link to IndieBound, 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.

The Enchanted Love Tarot

Like most people who read this website, I love tarot decks. Today I have a beautiful, whimsical, romantic deck to share, “The Enchanted Love Tarot: The Lover’s Guide to Dating, Mating, and Relating” by Amy Zerner and Monte Farber. There is a lot to unpack with this deck, so let’s dive in.

“The Enchanted Love Tarot” is based on a traditional tarot deck, except it has been shot by Cupid’s arrow. You have the major arcana, but the minor arcana are roses (as fire, action, batons, wands, or clubs), wings (as air, ideas, swords, or spades), shells (as water, emotions, cups, or hearts), and gems (as earth, resources, coins, or pentacles). The romance factor is amped way up by the beautiful collage art by Amy Zerner. As per usual, Red Feather Mind, Body Spirit has done a fantastic job packaging this deck. An attractive, oversized, cardboard box with a magnetic closure houses the accompanying book, a 163 full color pages in a trade paperback that fits into the box perfectly. My only picky complaint is that the card stock is rather flimsy. It does make the deck easier to shuffle, but I do worry about its durability.

The book that comes with the deck provides so much more than your usual card meanings and suggested card spreads (although it does have them). The author, Monte Farber, is the husband to the deck’s artist, Amy Zerner, and their marriage inspire the deck and book. So included in the book are love spells and “The ABCs of True Love”.

If you want to take a lovey dovey tarot journey, “The Enchanted Love Tarot” is THE deck for you!

You can learn more here.

Memory Palace and Masonic Lodges

Okay folks, this might be a pretty specific niche that I’m talking to today, but I’m going to tell you about “Memory Palaces and Masonic Lodges: Esoteric Secrets of the Art of Memory” by Charles B. Jameux. Freemasonry baby!

Firstly, it’s important to differentiate between speculative and operative Masonry. Operative Masonry is referencing Masons who physically work with stone. Speculative Masonry, which obviously evolved out of operative, doesn’t work with stone but instead use the operative trappings as metaphoric tools for self-improvement. Knowing this helps greatly with understanding the text.

Next up are memory palaces. You might have seen references to these in popular culture. It’s a mnemonic device that allowed speakers to remember key points for their talks by associating them with a different part of the building in which they’re speaking. When it was rediscovered, the process evolved, and the elements of these memory palaces were not intended to trigger the memory but would transform into talismanic objects with knowledge entirely new to the seeker.

“Memory Palaces and Masonic Lodges” is a response. The author, Charles B. Jameux, had an article published in 1995, where he detailed that the art of memory wasn’t unknown to Masons and that they grafted it onto their own practices. This, in and of itself, wasn’t in much dispute, however Jameux puts the time of this earlier than most scholars had previously thought. Obviously, there was much debate after its publication, so “Memory Palaces and Masonic Lodges” is a thoughtful response to criticisms that were made after the first article’s release.

If you’re not overly familiar with Freemasonry, like myself, you’ll find this book to be an eye-opening look at some of the history and practices of Freemasons.

You can learn more here.

Shop your local indie bookstore<---This is an affiliate link to IndieBound, 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.

Super Soldiers

If you follow me on social media, particularly my personal Twitter (@ElsonRebecca), you know I’m a fan of comic books. However, I haven’t read a lot of superhero comics and with the rise of the superhero comic book movie I’d like to learn more. That’s why I agreed to read “Super Soldiers: A Salute to Comic Book Heroes and Villains Who Fought for Their Country” by Jason Inman. Well, that and the delightful endorsements from a variety of interesting folks like Dan Aykroyd, Anthony Swofford (author of “Jarhead”), Joshua Hale Fialkov (writer of “I, Vampire” and “The Ultimates”), Dan Jurgens (writer/artist of “Superman” and “Captain America” and creator of Booster Gold), and more!

Let’s get to what you really want to know, who did Inman write about? Here we go, starting at the top: Captain America, Gravedigger, Captain Marvel, War Machine, Green Lantern (John Stewart), Captain Atom, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Flash Thompson, Isaiah Bradley, Sgt. Rock, Batwoman, Beetle Bailey (that’s right, Beetle motherflarkin’ Bailey), Nuke, The Punisher, Deathstroke, and Nick Fury.

Now, why do we care what Inman has to say? Well firstly, Inman is a comic book lover and writes about their characters with obvious affection and enthusiasm. He is the co-creator and co-writer of “Science!” for Bedside Press and “Jupiter Jet” for Action Lab Entertainment. He was also the host of DC All Access, DC Comics official web series, for over three years. And you know, before becoming a writer he served in the U.S. Army and Kansas Army National Guard, deploying as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. This means that not only does he talk about the characters military experience, but he compares that with his own. It offers a different perspective.

So, if you’re looking for an interesting introduction to world of comic superhero characters, “Super Soldier” by Jason Inman is the book for you!

You can learn more here.

Shop your local indie bookstore<---This is an affiliate link to IndieBound, 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.

Grimoire of Aleister Crowley

Many of you may have seen on social media me asking why I request review copies of books featuring group magic rituals when I don’t belong to a group. In the case of “Grimoire of Aleister Crowley: Group Magick Rituals” by Rodney Orpheus there are many reasons why even if you don’t belong to a regularly practicing ritual group you’ll want to read it.

Orpheus doesn’t just rattle off a bunch of rituals and call it a day. He gives you the background and history of the work. He carefully outlines any adjustments made and his reasoning for doing so. I found his research and insights quite informative and well worth the cover price.

Of course, the book is about rituals and “Grimoire of Aleister Crowley” is full of them. After all the background info and details, you get to the actual ritual. I love that at the beginning of each ritual the author lists the number of participants required, how long it will take to perform, how wordy the ritual is (how much text you’ll need to memorize or read aloud), and the list of equipment needed. He also provides diagrams of the way you’ll want the room set up for each ritual.

If you’re an occult nerd, like me, or if you’re interested in magic rituals for more than one, “Grimoire of Aleister Crowley” is a must read.

You can learn more here.

Shop your local indie bookstore <---This is an affiliate link to IndieBound, 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.

Just Enough

I’m writing today to tell you that you should read “Just Enough: Vegan Recipes and Stories from Japan’s Buddhist Temples” by Gesshin Claire Greenwood. Many of you have probably already clicked out thinking this in no way can apply to your life. Congratulations to those still reading these words, because “Just Enough” is a delightful read for anyone.

Gesshin Greenwood nicely combines a memoir of her life becoming a Buddhist nun and running the monastery’s kitchen, with recipes, and with bits of practical Buddhist wisdom. The book centers around the philosophy of oryoki, which translates to “just enough”. Oryoki is a highly ritualized form of eating that includes meticulous food preparation and consumption. However, Greenwood does an excellent job of showing how that concept can apply to many facets of your life. More importantly, FOOD!

If you know me, you know I love food! “Just Enough” is loaded with delicious looking vegan recipes. I couldn’t resist trying one out to share with you. I made “Crushed Cucumber and Tomato Salad”.

It didn’t require a lot of ingredients. The recipe calls for shiso, which the author describes as a Japanese herb reminiscent of basil. My grocery store didn’t have it, so I just used basil, and it worked fine.


Part of the preparation calls for you to beat up some cucumber. Here’s mine. I called it vegan roadkill. (I amuse myself.)


Here’s a sexy close up of the completed salad and let me tell you, it was delicious. I roped a few of our friends into trying a couple of forkfuls and they agree, it’s light, refreshing, perfect for summer. The dressing is great. Simple and delicious. I bet it would even make a good marinade for salmon or chicken.


While on the surface “Just Enough” may not seem readily accessible, I’d encourage you to give it a try. I think you’ll like what you find.


To learn more, click here.

Shop your local indie bookstore<--- This is an affiliate link to IndieBound, 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.