The Art of the Occult

Since the beginning of time art has been used to convey everything from simple human emotion to historic events. With that in mind, it should surprise no one that art has been a medium to illustrate magical practices for just as long. Anyone interested in witchcraft and/or the occult is sure to have seen the iconic witch-centric art of John William Waterhouse or classic alchemical illustrations.

In walks “The Art of the Occult” by S. Elizabeth, a wonderful book for art and magic lovers. By no means a complete overview of all art influenced by the occult, “The Art of the Occult” has over 175 full color reproductions of art from the 15th century and earlier right up to modern times. Each work is accompanied with insightful commentary.

Each individual finds different art appeals to them, just the way each person finds a specific magical style that suits them. I guarantee no matter who you are, you will find something in this book for you.

You can learn more here.

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Witch Hunt

Several years ago, I featured the fantastic book “Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive” by Kristen J. Sollée on the site. I loved it so much, and frequently wondered if/when I would see the author’s work out in the world again. You can imagine how excited I was when flipping through the Weiser Books catalog and saw her name once again.

This time the book is “Witch Hunt: A Traveler’s Guide to the Power & Persecution of the Witch.” It is the perfect follow up to “Witches, Sluts, Feminists”. Where her first book followed much of the evolution of the persecuted female witch, her latest, “Witch Hunt”, Sollée literally travels that history. A personal memoir and travelogue, “Witch Hunt” shares the authors reflections and experiences in unexpected and widespread locales. Visit Italy and Vatican City, France, Germany, Ireland, England, and Scotland. In the United States you will learn more about America’s misadventures with witchcraft in Virginia, Delaware, Connecticut, New York, and of course, Salem, Massachusetts.

Sollée does everyone a huge favor by providing travel resources in the back of the book. Trust me, by the time you are done with “Witch Hunt” you are going to want to check them all out! “Witch Hunt” is a thoughtful exploration time and place, and the convergence of religion, spirituality, and gender.

You can learn more here.

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Crystal Grids Handbook

It is no secret that I’m a lady that loves crystals. If you are like me, you’re probably familiar with Judy Hall. She’s easily one of the most recognizable authorities of all things crystal. When offered the opportunity to review her book “Crystal Grids Handbook: Use the Power of the Stones for Healing and Manifestation” I could not refuse.

To be honest, although always finding them attractive, I never understood the purpose of crystal grids. Obviously, Hall does an excellent job of breaking it down for me. The first line of the book is, “Crystal grids synthesize powerful crystal vibrations and sacred geometric energy.” She starts by providing an excellent description of sacred geometry and a basic guide to shapes and their potential meanings. Then she explores the power of color, different types of crystal formations, and the different shapes crystals come in. There is also a prerequisite section about the care and keeping of crystals.

After that is a wonderful step by step roadmap to creating your own crystal grid from the ground up (pun not intended). Hall’s guidance allows for you to create as simple or complex grid as desired. Better still, there are LOADS of FULL COLOR photos of different crystals and crystal grids.

After reading “Crystal Grids Handbook” not only do I understand crystal grids, but I also feel like I could competently construct one. Judy Hall’s “Crystal Grids Handbook” is the only book on the subject you will ever need.

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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Remember the ‘Resolve’ in Resolution

By Cyndi Dale

Several years ago, my son Gabriel was brainstorming ways to make money. Apparently he didn’t think he would receive enough for Christmas—not an amount adequate to purchase that mighty amazing electric guitar, anyway. And so, he was establishing various tasks by which he could fleece mother of as much money as possible. How about twenty dollars for a flushed toilet? How about another hundred to clean it—just the top, of course? Upon hearing too many refusals, he chose another recourse. A threat.

“Mom, if you don’t let me make money, I’ll become a lawyer when I grow up.”

I think the idea was that he could then sue me for everything I was worth.

Every January, the turn of the calendar is synonymous with the word “pause.” Most of us want our upcoming year to differ, at least in part, from the previous one. So we set resolutions.

A resolution is usually defined as a goal or a promise. We decree that this year, we’ll lose weight, meet a mate, break up a bad relationship, or exercise. That’s great—but we have to remember that another definition of the word is “the process of resolving something.” We can’t create the future until we embrace, reflect upon, and with kindness, release the past. And maybe, we need to make a few changes.

Most of us review the past as if flipping through the pages of a book once read, stopping at the turned-down corners to peruse the most important moments, lessons, and events. Some storylines are painful. Life is tragic. It is full of undeserved pain, hurt inflicted by others on us; and even worse, harm we’ve caused to others. Some narratives are happier. Life is comedic, glistening with the serendipitous. We seemingly can’t—or don’t know how—to have one without the other. If we really desire a better future, however, we have to be a little more intentional than simply read the highlights. We have to dig.

We have to dig for the selves we’ve buried.

We lose so much of ourselves on the way. That five-year-old who was hated by her mother? That ten-year-old who was yelled at by dad? That first real life partner, the one who cheated on us? We’ve left so many ages of ourselves behind, thinking we’re better off without them, when the truth is that whatever—whoever—we fail to bring “up to date” continues to run our lives. That five-year-old will continue to attract relationships based on hate. The ten-year-old has either become an alcoholic or partners with them. And broken hearts just keep on breaking—or breaking the hearts of others, don’t they? If someone hurts us, we’ll either hurt others the same way or become vulnerable to people who are all too happy to scald us with the same hot water.

New Year’s Eve is a perfect time to pay tribute to who we are and have been by listening to the “village within,” the various selves that have been hurt, damaged, confused, or treated with unrecognized kindness and civility. Taking an hour or two for quiet reflection is a good start. Sit in silence or listen to calming music and ask the unremembered selves to appear. There might be quite a queue.

Let each present him- or herself and ask what occurred that made them feel like they had to remain hidden in the past. Most of the time, your inner selves will present detrimental or abusive memories. Sometimes, however, they’ll hold up a joyful event, one you’ve forgotten to remember and so, are having a hard time repeating. As the adult in the process, treat the inner self in the way you wished an authority would have. If you are confused, ask your higher self to assist. This is the part of you that knows it is connected to God. Or ask the Divine to help more directly. Finally, remember to reflect on the word “change.” Are there any actions you should take to complete this healing? To alter the present so you can forge a more fruitful future?

We don’t always have to walk the road of the distant past. Sometimes more recent inner selves require a listening ear. Maybe we forgot to say, “I’m sorry,” to someone we love. Maybe we need to say the same to our self. Maybe we need to pepper the universe with more thank you’s.

Peering through the looking glass backward is only half of the New Year’s blitz. Once we’ve jettisoned the anchors to the past, we have to decide where we’re going to head. Why set sail without a course?

Most of us confine our goal setting to New Year’s Eve, but it’s not a process to rush. Pause. Take time to savor your desires, one at a time. Ask your heart if an objective is really all that important or if you’d rather spend the energy a different way. We might want to buy a new house, but do we need to? Is the outcome worth the effort? Might we be better off spending more time with our kids or taking up a hobby? There’s that negligent ten pounds. Do we really want to pretend that we’re going to shed them or would we rather work harder and buy a new wardrobe? If you don’t get an immediate answer, meditate on the subject for a few days. Let the process unfold the outcome.

It’s also important to examine the motives for our goals. It would be a sad world, for Gabe to become a lawyer just because he’s mad at his mother. The truth is that people we set objectives for the wrong reasons all the time and then live in regret, yet another way of hiding in the past. That potential artist? The writer? The super-duper accountant or horseback rider or business consultant? He or she is still secreted in a corner of our hearts while the adult self cloaks itself behind medical garb or apron or cowboy boots or some other attire that doesn’t suit us.

Above all, remember the “two sides” to resolutions. There’s the part that concerns the past and the part that regards the future. In the middle, is our divine self—the self that can be contacted in any pause. Between heartbeats. Between breaths. Between thoughts and actions. We can visit this place, this space within ourselves, once a year, like most people do. Or we can decide to live there.

Maybe Gabe won’t grow up to be a lawyer after all.


About Cyndi Dale:
Cyndi Dale is an internationally renowned author, speaker, and energy healer. She is the author of 27 books on energy medicine, intuition, and spirituality.
www.cyndidale.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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The Magical Buffet: After Dark

Some of you may remember that I started a Magical Buffet Patreon. Starting in 2021 there is a new tier available, bringing it up to three tiers.

Tier One is “Rated E for Everyone” and is available for $1 or more a month. This allows you to show your appreciation for my work, gives you access to Sarah Sundays (which follows the adventures of my pitbull mix named Sarah), and behind the scenes content.

Tier Two is “Parental Guidance” and is available for $5 or more a month. First, you get access to anything that Tier One Patrons do. Next, you get my monthly tarot/oracle forecast. Finally, I try to offer one article a month. Thus far I’ve shared coffee magic, different types of divination, and an introduction to various styles of meditation.

This brings us to the new tier, Tier Three, “Magical Buffet: After Dark” which is $10 or more a month. Obviously, with this tier you get access to everything provided to Tier One and Two. This tier is only for ages 18 and older. Here I’m going to be exploring a sensual side of magic and spirituality in a mostly visual format. There will be adult themes and nudity. The whole thing is an experiment, but hopefully there will be people out there who will be into it. It officially starts in January 2021, but anyone who signs up before then will find a cheeky surprise already there waiting for them, and will receive a small token of appreciation in the mail in January.

Visit my Patreon to sign up!

I also want to remind you that the fun, limited edition Krampus/Saint Nicholas collection I created will be gone FOREVER at 11:59pm eastern on December 31, 2020. Don’t live with regret, get your Krampus now! https://www.cafepress.com/themagicalbuffet


The Tarot of Light and Shadow

It is not unheard of for a tarot deck to have an additional card or two added for an added effect. You may remember when I reviewed the Santa Muerte Oracle, the creator discussed how it could be used in conjunction with his Santa Muerte Tarot Deck. (Both decks are wonderful, by the way.) However, I was particularly intrigued when I learned about “The Tarot of Light and Shadow” by John Matthews and Andrea Aste, which has two decks packaged together.

What is so compelling about the “Tarot of Light and Shadow” is the decks and their accompanying guide are built from the ground up on the idea of using both decks for a single reading. Examining a shadow side is not as misunderstood as it used to be. It is not as simple as Light = good and Shadow = bad. From the accompanying guide:

“It is important to understand that when you choose to work with the double deck that it shows us truths from two angles, mirroring each other in a strange and wonderful way. The two sides should never be seen as somehow positive and negative, with the light deck good and the shadow deck bad. Put such thoughts from your mind. We are a naturally dualistic species, and it can be hard not to see things in this way – but the “Tarot of Light and Shadow” is not like this. It sets out to show you not only two aspects of card, but to show you h ow they relate – how the inclusion of cards from one aspect or the other changes what you see.”

The artwork by Andrea Aste is wonderful, full stop. However, genuine applause is due for the effort put into creating paired artwork. The cards mirror each other but are not just reflections. Subtle changes are made between Light and Shadow to highlight deeper and different meanings between them. For instance, let’s looks at one of my favorites from the deck, Death. Note the different flags, how the Light version has heads on the ground, where the shadow shows plants blooming. Each card deserves careful study, which only makes you appreciate the work of Matthews and Aste more.

Obviously, if you choose, you can use each deck by itself. Although Matthews outlines several thoughtful ways you can use the decks together.

On social media I called out Watkins for putting on the back of the deck box, “The most subtle and insightful tarot ever created.” Now I am not claiming to have seen every deck ever made, or even being a tarot expert, but in my opinion “The Tarot of Light and Shadow” by John Matthews and Andre Aste may very well be the most subtle and insightful tarot ever created. A truly impressive feat.

You can learn more 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

Finding Faeries

I never get tired of dictionaries/encyclopedias/guidebooks about mythological or cryptozoological creatures. That said, there are no shortage of books like that out there to read. What IS a different, and offers a unique take on the subject, is “Finding Faeries: Discovering Sprites, Pixies, Redcaps and Other Fantastical Creatures in an Urban Environment” by Alexandra Rowland.

“Finding Faeries” explores creatures of folklore and what happens when those legends migrate to new lands and urban environments. They discuss everything from faeries to black dogs, and Thunderbirds to dryads. Rowland does an excellent job blending tales of the past with the realities of the present. Their writing style is informative and entertaining, and throughout the book are wonderful illustrations by Miles Äijälä. Just when you think you are done; you are given instructions on how to go out in the world with a fresh set of eyes to find the magic around you.

“Finding Faeries” is actuality quite the achievement. Entertaining and informative, while being sensitive to the assorted cultures involved and emphasizing the importance of environmental conservation.

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

Who Legally Owns Your Tweets

By Aron Solomon

I started thinking about this lost in a Twitter black hole about the future Trump Presidential Library. As the meme goes, people like to poke fun at him because while other presidents eventually have an important library of materials to memorialize their presidency, the outgoing 45th President of the United States has tweets.

A lot of them.

President Trump has tweeted over 30,000 times since becoming a candidate to become president in 2015. His account currently has just under 87 million followers. As you can imagine, this has taken a significant amount of time over his one term as president.

If you appreciate how social media works, a Twitter account with 87 million followers is a valuable digital asset. The value comes from two sources: the tweets themselves and the followers.

For any social medium – Twitter in this example – having close to 100 million people follow an account is absolutely massive. This means that close to 100 million people are regularly visiting your platform, in part, to view this person’s tweets.

So, if they’re coming to see what President Trump is saying on Twitter, the tweets themselves are a form of digital currency.

But who owns President Trump’s tweets, and, for that matter, who owns yours?

Like anything else you write, you can actually copyright your tweets.

A tweet is protected by copyright if:

1. The content is original to its author, meaning the expression cannot be copied from someone else, and it must possess at least a minimal amount of creativity. So if President Trump sends a tweet that lists the names of the 6 ideologically conservative justices who now sit on the Supreme Court, that doesn’t clear the creativity bar. Yes, if President Trump were to analyze from his perspective which of those judges are the best and worst justices and why, these opinions would clear the bar to allow this to be a copyrighted tweet.

2. The tweet contains something more than simply a name, single word, or short phrase, since these are not protected by copyright law. While some have complained that the 140 (now 280) character limit on a tweet dramatically limits how much original thought can be communicated in a tweet, it is now commonplace to string tweets together in a series, often known as a tweetstorm.

But the fundamental question remains as to whether you would own the copyright to your tweet or Twitter would.

Twitter’s Terms of Service state that as a user you:

…retain your rights to any Content you submit, post or display on or through the Services.

What’s yours is yours — you own your Content (and your photos and videos are part of the Content)….

While you own the copyright, you are granting Twitter an irrevocable license to use your content, by making “it available to the rest of the world and to let others do the same.” This is the entire nature of how the service works: You tweet, someone likes and retweets your tweet, someone else sees it on their feed and retweets it as well. This is, when you think about it, not only Twitter granting an ability to other users to use your content, it’s essentially allowing them to share a kind of a transactional and temporary copyright.

Part of the notion behind copyright is that you are copyrighting something of value. Many skeptics still believe that Twitter is little more than an art project, a useless digital pool in which to wade away the hours.

Yet imagine if Mr. Trump left Twitter and went to a competitor, such as Parler. Parler, while founded in 2018, has only very recently begun to significantly grow. Parler differentiates itself from Twitter as being an online locus for free speech, read: right-wing people who want a pretty much unedited place to communicate often false and potentially dangerous theories and worldviews. Parler has been in the news a lot these past week, most recently for having received investment from the Mercer family to position the company for what they expect to be exponential growth.

Without regard to how one might feel about Parler, which has recently been publicly touted on live TV as the new Twitter by personalities such as Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, one feature that Parler has and Twitter doesn’t is the ability to give a financial “tip” to the person creating these micro-messages.

Let’s imagine that President Trump decided to leave Twitter for Parler and his followers migrated along with him Next imagine if he can motivate them to donate/”tip” on average only $1 per year per follower. With a natural rate of growth as the platform scales, that could quickly equate to a revenue stream for Mr. Trump of $100 million per year, not even counting how Parler could add value in many circles to the brand that is the Trump name.

Expect more and more dialogue around this issue in the coming months, especially as some pundits believe that Mr. Trump’s next endeavor might be founding a media company. Imagine the immediate value of his tweets, followers, and brand goodwill to this new company and whether any potential legal dispute could arise over who owns the intellectual property he has created to date on social media.

About Aron Solomon
Aron Solomon is the Senior Digital Strategist for NextLevel.com and an Adjunct Professor at the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University.

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Favorite Things 2020

Every year I go through the emotionally tortuous task of putting together The Magical Buffet’s Favorite Things list. Honestly, I do not know how Oprah does it. However, I will tell you this, every year I feel smugly superior to Oprah because I know my list is filled with 100%, guaranteed bad ass things, that just about any person can afford. No surprise bougie, overpriced items here. I am truly, the people’s favorite things list maker.

By the mid-point of this year I knew it was going to be hard to do this list. The first draft had 21 entries that I needed to whittle down to 10. I even cheated and clustered some together and still had a bunch to eliminate. This list is pulled from my favorite things featured on The Magical Buffet’s website since the 2019 list was published. So, the things featured here may not have been produced in 2020, but they were featured on the site in 2020.

I am providing the links to each entry’s original post on The Magical Buffet website. There you will also find links to places you can purchase these items, because holidays.

With no further ado, and presented in no particular order, here are The Magical Buffet’s Favorite Things 2020!

1. SO MUCH FOOD AND DRINK MAGIC! This year on the site I was able to review 4 different books that encourage you to incorporate magic into mealtime. This is an expanding magical niche that I am thrilled to see.
“The Magick of Food: Rituals, Offerings, and Why We Eat Together” by Gwion Raven
“Witchcraft Cocktails: 70 Seasonal Drinks Infused with Magic & Ritual” by Julia Halina Hadas.
“A Kitchen Witch’s Guide to Recipes for Love & Romance” by Dawn Aurora Hunt
“Blackthorn’s Botanical Brews” by Amy Blackthorn

2. “The Magic of Marie Laveau: Embracing the Spiritual Legacy of the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans” by Denise Alvarado

3. “Crystal Basics: The Energetic, Healing & Spiritual Power of 200 Gemstones” by Nicholas Pearson (aka, the only crystal book you’ll ever need)

4. “The Hoodoo Tarot” by Tayannah Lee McQuillar, the most informative tarot deck ever!

5. “Magical Symbols and Alphabets: A Practitioner’s Guide to Spells, Rites, and History” by Sandra Kynes, an amazing resource!

6. “The Green Witch’s Grimoire: Your Complete Guide to Creating Your Own Book of Natural Magic” by Arin Murphy-Hiscock, she thinks of EVERYTHING when it comes to grimoire creation.

7. “Modern Witchcraft: Goddess Empowerment for the Kick-Ass Woman” by Deborah Blake, a fantastic introduction to female fueled witchcraft.

8. “Travels to the Otherworld and Other Fantastic Realms” by Claude and Corinne Lecouteux, because Lecouteux will ALWAYS be on the list!

9. “Magic: A History: From Alchemy to Witchcraft from the Ice Age to the Present” by Chris Gosden, the book on the history of magic that I have been waiting for!

10. “The Hermetic Science of Transformation: The Initiatic Path of Natural & Divine Magic” by Giuliano Kremmerz

I would also be remiss if I did not mention the year’s limited-edition Magical Buffet merchandise featuring frenemies Krampus and Saint Nicholas! This vintage art inspired collection will be gone New Year’s Day, so get it while the getting is good! https://www.cafepress.com/themagicalbuffet

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

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.

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