Blackthorn’s Botanical Brews

If you’ve learned one thing by now, it’s that Becky likey excuses to eat and drink. Fortunately for me, 2020 has delivered ample excuses and we’ll be talking about the latest one today, “Blackthorn’s Botanical Brews: Herbal Potions, Magical Teas, and Spirited Libations” by Amy Blackthorn.

You may remember that not too long ago I reviewed “Witchcraft Cocktails: 70 Seasonal Drinks Infused with Magic & Ritual” by Julia Halina Hadas. It would be silly to not acknowledge there are many similarities between that book and “Blackthorn’s Botanical Brews”. Both provide ample information to make you a competent home bartender, and both provide enough witchy info to effectively add magic to your drinks.

Where the two books diverge in a big way is what drinks are offered. Where “Witchcraft Cocktails” is strictly cocktails, “Blackthorn’s Botanical Brews” focuses on almost anything you can drink. Obviously, there is booze involved with many of the recipes, but Blackthorn goes out of her way to provide non-alcoholic options as well. You’ll find cocktails, mocktails, teas, kombucha (which is low enough in alcoholic content that I consider it non-alcoholic), and more!

Of course, when it comes to me, I opted to make a little booze-based magic! I tried my hand at the Bishop, a recipe that goes back to the 18th century and generates success and prosperity. It calls for red wine, which I happened to have a bottle kicking around in need of using up. Along with the wine is orange juice, lemon juice, and simple syrup.

It is delicious! I’ve made it many times since my first attempt. It is sweet and smooth. I highly recommend it!

Amy Blackthorn’s “Blackthorn’s Botanical Brews” is wonderful addition to the expanding category for food and beverage-based magic. As far as I’m concerned, it is a must own.

You can learn more here.

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The Most Popular Thanksgiving TV Episodes

Do you ever binge specific television episodes during the holidays? I do. Every Christmas my husband and I watch every American Dad Christmas episode because they are seriously good. I swear. The series is streaming on Hulu, do yourself a favor and watch them. However, I never gave much thought to Thanksgiving television episodes. So, when USDish reached out to me with their findings on the most popular Thanksgiving television episodes, I was intrigued.

Let me tell you up front that America is missing out on great Thanksgiving television because The Cleveland Show did not end up on this list at all, and that show has the most EPIC Thanksgiving episodes. (Again, streaming on Hulu, watch them.) Obviously this omission leads me to the methodology that was used to compile the list.

To find the most popular TV episodes on Thanksgiving they analyzed the top fifteen holiday episodes for each holiday using IMDb data.

To qualify for the analysis, each episode had to meet the following criteria: contain the keyword “Thanksgiving”, be produced between 1990–2020, have over 1,500 IMDb votes, and achieve a rating of 7.5 and above.

Once they narrowed down their search, they found each episode’s viewership count using the viewership archive on TV Listings. Then they ranked each episode from most popular to least-popular based on viewership. To find the most-searched TV show in each state for November they analyzed Google Trends data.

With that out of the way, with no further ado, here are the results:

1. “The One with the List” Friends
2. “The Mom and Pop Store” Seinfeld
3. “The One with the Football” Friends
4. “The One with Chandler in a Box” Friends
5. “The One with Rachel’s Other Sister” Friends
6. “The One with the Rumor” Friends
7. “The One with All the Thanksgivings” Friends
8. “The One Where Underdog Gets Away” Friends
9. “The One with the Late Thanksgiving” Friends
10. “The One Where Ross Got High” Friends
11. “The Thanksgiving Decoupling” The Big Bang Theory
12. “The One Where Chandler Doesn’t Like Dogs” Friends
13. “Ignorance Is Bliss” House
14. “Belly Full of Turkey” How I Met Your Mother
15. “Pilgrim Rick” This is Us

I do find it interesting that in New York, the state where the dominating television series Friends is set, it was not the most searched show for Thanksgiving.


If you found this interesting, I encourage you to check out the full report, where you can read more about this, and it will be updated to include Christmas and New Year in December!

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Llewellyn’s Little Book of Yule

You might remember that I really loved Jason Mankey’s book “Witch’s Wheel of the Year”. If not, I loved it. I made sure to keep an eye out for what would be published from him next. When it turned out to be “Llewellyn’s Little Book of Yule”, I reached out to Llewellyn for a copy, even though I expected it to just be a repacking of the Yule stuff from “Witch’s Wheel of the Year”. I was wrong.

Considering how great “Witch’s Wheel of the Year” was, I should have known that Mankey wouldn’t just phone it in for “Llewellyn’s Little Book of Yule”. What I wasn’t prepared for was the sheer abundance of enthusiasm Mankey for all things winter holiday. Normally I don’t look at reviews or ratings for books I plan on reviewing, but I couldn’t help but notice that many readers were disappointed in the lack of laser focus on Yule. I suppose it’s a fair criticism, considering the title is “Llewellyn’s Little Book of YULE”, however, what some found a weakness I found a strength. Just like in “Witch’s Wheel of the Year”, Mankey is effortlessly inclusive, working to make sure all holidays from right after American Thanksgiving through the New Year. In a world of overlapping religions and traditions, “Llewellyn’s Little Book of Yule” does an excellent job guiding you in ways to incorporate as many, or as few, observances as you wish.

Honestly, don’t go into the holiday season without “Llewellyn’s Little Book of Yule” by Jason Mankey.

You can learn more here.

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Battle of the Dragon Oracle Decks

If you follow The Magical Buffet on social media, you’ve watched the evolution of this review idea. What started as an overall preference for me to review the dragon themed oracle deck I received, quickly morphed into a “battle of the dragon oracles” when I received a SECOND dragon themed oracle. Here we are, two decks enter and well, two deck will leave because destroying perfectly good oracle decks would be stupid.


“Dragon Wisdom” is a 43-card oracle deck and book by Christine Arana Fader with illustrations by Anja Kostka. It is beautifully illustrated drawing on the four elements and figures from mythology, as well as dragons. Duh! Its suggested retail price is $19.99.


“Dragon Path Oracle Cards” is a 33-card oracle deck and book by Caroline Mitchell with illustrations by Tiras Verey. This deck features gorgeous art of dragons from four clans: Earth Walk Dragons, Galactic Dragons, Grand Master Dragons, and Guardian Dragons. Its suggested retail price is $22.95.

Being oracle decks, both are versatile in how they can be used, and both books feature several ideas as to how to use them. Both Fader and Mitchell are passionate about dragons, and both Kostka and Verey are gifted artists. In all honesty, these two decks have a lot in common. I’m unable to declare one truly superior to the other, or a personal preference. I mean, for me, what’s better than dragons? MORE DRAGONS! Particularly when they’re so beautifully rendered in decks so intuitive in their use.

Try to decide for yourself with the links below!

Want to learn more about “Dragon Wisdom”? Click here.

Want to learn more about “Dragon Path Oracle Cards”? Click here.

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Krampus is Here!

“I can’t go back to sharing Christmas with that soul-singing goat. Always nibbling on my list,” Santa, “American Dad” episode “Minstrel Krampus”

Like all great folklore figures, the origins of Krampus are murky at best. In European history Krampus is portrayed as a half demon, half goat figure that worked in tandem with Saint Nicholas. These days Santa rewards good children with gifts and leaves coal for naughty children. However, back in the day, Saint Nicholas would reward good children and Krampus would punish naughty children by frightening them with rattling chains and swatting them with birch branches.

In the “American Dad” television episode “Minstrel Krampus” they make a compelling argument that in this modern era Krampus is a good guy, and that Santa is a bad guy. Santa spoils children by doing nothing but giving gifts, whereas Krampus loves children enough to punish them when they are bad. Obviously, it is not a perfect argument, but it always stuck with me that perhaps people are a bit too quick to judge Krampus.

Which leads us to this:


I fell in love with this vintage image of Krampus and Saint Nicholas. They look like perfect frenemies. And I decided to do a limited-edition line of merchandise featuring this picture! What kind of things can you buy?


How about buttons, greeting cards, mugs, and more? Prices range from $2.50 for a button up to $41.99 for a hoodie. You can find them all, along with our core merchandise at https://www.cafepress.com/themagicalbuffet.


Shop now, because come December 31, 2020 all this great Krampus merchandise will be gone forever!

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How to Learn Tarot

Learning tarot sucks. Okay, maybe that’s just me, but I have an AWFUL memory regardless of how interested I am in the subject I’m studying. I mean, after YEARS and YEARS I am finally starting to wrap my head around it. People learn in different ways. I’m at the point where I learn by doing. However, in the past when it comes to tarot, I’ve worked with flash cards and rote memorization. Perhaps my learning trajectory would have been different if years ago I had access to “How to Learn Tarot: A Guided Tarot Journal with Intuitive Prompts and Spreads” by Jess Carlson.

Carlson’s approach is simple in appearance, but has the potential to create personal, long-lasting, connections to the tarot. “How to Learn Tarot” dedicates a page to each tarot card, showing it in the corner of the page. She provides a prompt and encourages the reader to write down all their thoughts and associations with the card. No wrong answers. The act of writing helps you remember what you are learning, and creating an idea makes it personal to you. The back of the book includes keywords associated with each card, but Carlson encourages you to go through the entire journal, which includes exercises and sample spreads, before browsing the keywords.

Considering its full-color and trade paperback format, a suggested retail price of $14.99 is reasonable for a tool that would be great for beginning tarot fans or for more experienced readers looking to add depth to their readings.

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It’s Better to Give and Receive

By Christine Arylo

“It’s better to give than receive” — six seemingly innocent words you have likely heard but don’t give a second thought. Seems like good counsel for being a good human, right? But look more closely. Instead of seeing just another nice saying, use your wise-woman eyes to see another unconscious program running your thoughts and actions.

If it’s better to give than receive, how might that affect your choices for how you show up in your relationships? At work? For yourself? If it is better to give than receive, wouldn’t it follow that you should give as much as you can, even if you don’t have it to give? If it is better to give than receive, what might be the impact on your capacity to ask for or receive support from others?

Is the lightbulb turning on yet? If it is better to give than receive, no wonder why when someone tries to give you support — a compliment, help, money, kindness — you experience a knee-jerk response to give back. We women cannot just receive. We feel we must give, too. If we don’t return the giving, we feel guilty or selfish, and proceed to sacrifice ourselves in some other way to make up for it.

Give or receive. It’s another duality reality! Here the internal tug-of-war makes us believe we must choose between giving (to others, our work, and the world) and receiving (for ourselves) what we need.

But why should you have to choose receiving or giving? Why can’t you have both? It makes no sense to have to choose between supporting others and receiving the support and resources you need. If this is an abundant Universe, as the ancient sages teach, with infinite possibility, as the scientists say, shouldn’t there be enough for everyone to both give to others and receive for themselves?

Don’t let the simplicity of what I am sharing fool you. The “it’s better to give than receive” program seems harmless, but within our hearts it’s wreaking havoc. I see it like an insidious parasite that’s wormed its way into our internal operating systems, making it crazy challenging to stop sacrificing ourselves for the good of others, and we can’t see why. Did you know that parasites can make the animals that host them act unnaturally, in ways unhealthy to the host but beneficial to the parasite? This particular self-sacrificing parasite compels you to work and relate in unnatural and unhealthy ways, including giving too much and draining your reserves even though you know better. The result? You bankrupt yourself.

If you can reveal the specific ways you overgive, you become empowered to shift the imbalance.

I am going to break down for you the most common ways women overgive of their life force (that is, energy, love, and attention) and their resources (including time, money, and support) and as a result deplete themselves. I call these the OVERgiving Imprints, or the “OVERs.” This will give you language to illuminate the deeper emotional imprints that, like a parasite, drive you to keep sacrificing yourself. One thing to note before we dive in. This will require self-honesty. Because the ways in which you overgive in many cases are how you have come to value and define who you are. How’s that for deep?

The 13 OVERgiving Imprints
Read through each of these OVERgiving Imprints with the intention of revealing which might be running in your internal operating system. Pause after each to consider if it rings true for you, by asking, Have I been or am I…?
1. OVERcaretaking: You overempathize with and caretake others. You feel, take on, and carry other people’s stuff — worries, concerns, needs, and life or work challenges. You take over-
responsibility for people, projects, organizations, issues, or the world.

2. OVERcompensating: You feel the gaps or the needs with a project, organization, or family member and then fill them in or fulfill them with your life force, money, or time. You make up for what other people can’t, don’t, or won’t show up for.

3. OVERconnecting: You spend a lot of your energy and time connecting with others — at home, at work, online, at networking events, and more — but leave little space for connection with yourself. You spend too much energy and time “out,” not enough “in.”

4. OVERcontrolling: You plan, strategize, and organize, leaving nothing to chance. You allow no space for others to step in or lead. You overcontrol how things work and flow.

5. OVERdoing: You rarely stop moving. Resting makes you anxious. You are perpetually busy. You find it hard to do things that are not productive, just for pleasure. You go to sleep and wake up with your to-do list.

6. OVERefforting: You work harder and longer than is needed, giving 110 percent when 80 percent would do. You believe hard work is what makes you successful or valuable, so you work harder than others, giving everything your all.

7. OVERextending: You give, spend, or invest more money, time, and energy than you have. You stretch yourself to the point of stressing and depleting yourself. You don’t have the resources and time you need, because you’ve given them to others or spent beyond your capacity.

8. OVERfocusing on the future: You obsessively think about what could or will happen. You get so focused on the goal, outcome, or plan that you pressure yourself to keep moving until you “get there.” You waste your life force on all the anxiety or frustration you feel about the future. You don’t receive or savor the joy of the present in the process.

9. OVERindulging: You eat, drink, spend, or binge-watch TV more than is healthy, to compensate for the lack of nourishment, support, love, and care you receive. In the moment, your indulgence feels good or numbs you, but you end up with a physical, emotional, or financial hangover.

10. OVERperfecting: You put too much time, energy, and effort into make something an A+ when a B would do, stressing yourself and others out. You pay attention to details no one else sees, wasting life force for little return. Or you procrastinate about completing things, trying to perfect what no one else cares about.

11. OVERpromising: You say or impulsively blurt out “Yes, I can!” when you know you can’t or before you’ve even paused to consider whether you can do what’s being asked. You take on more than is possible to do in the time or with the resources you have available, and then you have to deliver.

12. OVERprotecting: You’ve learned to protect yourself so much that you can’t receive the love, attention, and care you need. You block physical affection, support, and intimate connection, or you waste energy chasing relationships that are not fulfilling or supportive.

13. OVERworking: You give so much to your work that your relationships, health, and happiness suffer. You tell yourself that one day you’ll have time for fun, love, and pleasure, which never happens, because there’s always more work.
Chances are, you relate to more than a few of these imprints; most women do. But usually one, two, or three are most present and pervasive now.

What we are revealing here together is much deeper than a few mental beliefs you can positively think or “affirmation” yourself out of. Self-sacrifice and taking it all on have been imprinted onto the psyches, cells, and hearts of women at deep generational and cultural levels. These ways of doing, being, working, mothering, taking care of others, and valuing our worth have been passed down from generation to generation for centuries. Now it’s up to our generation of women to break the cycles of self-sacrifice for ourselves, each other, and the girls and women to come.

About Christine Arylo, MBA:
Christine Arylo, MBA, is the author of “Overwhelmed and Over It”. As a transformational leadership advisor, three-time bestselling author, and host of the popular Feminine Power Time podcast, she is recognized worldwide for her work helping women to make shifts happen — in the lives they lead, the work they do, and the world they wish to create. Arylo offers workshops globally and lives near Seattle. Visit her online at http://www.OverwhelmedandOverIt.com.

Excerpted from the book “Overwhelmed and Over It”. Copyright ©2020 by Christine Arylo. Printed with permission from New World Library — www.newworldlibrary.com.

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.

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Byzantine Intersectionality

Today we are talking about an academic work exploring the Byzantine empire that is an accessible read and incredibly relevant for today. “Byzantine Intersectionality: Sexuality, Gender, & Race in the Middle Ages” by Roland Betancourt is an eye-opening, thought provoking work.

Intersectionality is “the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.” (Oxford Dictionary) It was coined in 1989, but obviously marginalized identities existed before then.

Betancourt utilizes literature, religious texts, and art to examine lives of transgendered monks, sexual consent and the Virgin Mary, slut shaming of society women, race around the Ethiopian Eunuch, and same sex desire in the lives of monks and the story of Doubting Thomas. Medical texts of the time show that late term abortions and sex affirming surgeries were part of the era.

Honestly, this review is not doing the book justice. “Byzantine Intersectionality” by Roland Betancourt is a riveting read that made me view the past differently, and in turn, think more deliberately about our future. I think everyone should read this book.

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.

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Shunia

This past Friday a single was released from Shunia’s forthcoming album. I listened to it at work and it was so uplifting and had such a great energy to it that I decided to share it! The song is “Sa Re Sa Sa” and it’s from Shunia’s self-titled album that is releasing January 15, 2021. They worked with Tony Award-winning producer Jamshied Sharifi on it.

Here’s the video:

I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

You can learn more and stay up to date on further releases at http://shuniasound.com/.

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 Wakanda Files

Attention Marvel fans! Epic Ink was kind enough to send me a copy of their new book “The Wakanda Files: A Technological Exploration of the Avengers and Beyond” by Troy Benjamin, and it is a Marvel Cinematic Universe fan dream.

“The Wakanda Files” is framed as a compilation of Shuri’s research of the advanced technology of the MCU. Shuri is T’Challa / Black Panther’s intelligent, savvy, younger sister, so it makes since that “The Wakanda Files” reflect her accumulated knowledge of human enhancement, weapons, artificial intelligence, armor, and more from the MCU. As anything worthy of the Shuri name, “The Wakanda Files” is full color, hardcover, with a frosted plastic slipcase. It also comes with a UV light that when shined on pages reveals extra information printed in UV ink.

I wish I could hand the book to you through the screen, so you feel the quality.

Sexy hardcover.The center “bead” is the UV light.


Hard to photograph, but the UV light works!


You know Shuri was all up in Pim’s business.


Loads of schematics throughout!


Loads to geek out on!

With so much content, “The Wakanda Files” would make a great gift for any fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe!

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.

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