10 Questions with Phil Hine

Today we’re talking with author Phil Hine, who has been an integral part of the occult community for over 45 years. Here we discuss the evolution of magical communities, the time before the internet, and what influences his practice.

1. What first drew you to the study and practice of magic?

I thought the occult was rubbish until I was about 16. One day, I was in the school library, idly glancing through a bound edition of Man, Myth & Magic magazine – looking of pictures of nude witches. I came across a photo of a painting by Austin Osman Spare. I’d been reading Jung – probably Man & His Symbols – and something about the Spare portrait seemed to resonate with that (can’t remember exactly what it was) and that got me interested. I went to the local library and read anything I could get my hands on. There wasn’t a great choice – Theosophy, Spiritualism, Dennis Wheatley. Eventually I got my hands on David Conway’s classic “Magic: An Occult Primer” and everything sort of bobbled along from that point. If you want to know more, there’s some autobiographical essays in Hine’s Varieties.

2. What made chaos magic different from other schools and systems you had learned about?

When I first came across chaos magic in the late 70s it wasn’t really either a school or a system – really more of a bunch of vague ideas that were being largely discussed in ‘zines and amongst small groups of people. There weren’t many books either – three or four at the most, all published by small presses. One of the first things that I came across was a cassette tape of a ritual called “the chaochamber”. I guess you could call it a pathworking of sorts, but instead of the standard astral temple set up, you floated in the aethyr in a kind of steampunk vehicle. I thought this was great – really creative. That’s what attracted me to chaos magic – the permission to pull in ideas and themes from outside what then passed for “traditional” occultism, which was rather conservative to say the least. Just to give you an idea what it was like, I was doing a correspondence course in elementary magical practice (by post – no internet in 1980!) and the tutors told me off for spelling magic with a “k” and for experimenting with sigils.

3. How has your study of Tantra influenced your magical practice?

That’s an interesting question. I first became interested in Tantra in the early 80s, and since the late 90s all I’ve done is tantric practice – mostly a ‘light’ form of Srividya. Not only has that shaped my practice and understanding of magic significantly, but it’s also influenced some of my side interests. For example, a few years ago, I became interested in classical Indian literary and poetic theory. I decided I needed a better understanding of poetic and literary metaphors in order to better understand the tantric literature I was using in my practice such as the dhyanas – the meditative scenes that are a core component of the practice. It also spurred my interest in history, as I wanted to find out where all the misconceptions about tantra being entirely about sex arose – so I started looking into the historical processes that gave rise to those misconceptions. Frequently I find myself zooming off on a new trajectory just by asking simple questions. What are classical Indian ideas of beauty? How did 14th-century tantric teachers think of how the imaginative faculty worked? It’s too easy to approach tantra from the perspective of contemporary ‘western’ assumptions about standards of beauty or the imagination – I wanted to know what they had to say, and often turned up surprises or ideas vastly different to what I was used to.

4. Having been around to witness so much evolution in magical/occult communities and practices, what have been some of the biggest changes?

The internet, without a doubt. The internet has changed everything.

Also, people nowadays seem less likely to put up with the blantant racism, misogyny, and homophobia that’s present in a lot of “classical” occult books of the twentieth century. People are calling it out, and that’s a good thing, in my view.

5. How has life in northern England influenced your work?

I lived in Yorkshire between 1984-1991, although I spent three years there earlier, between 1978-81. For the most part, I was really poor, living below the poverty line during a period of mass unemployment. Still, I managed to keep busy, being an activist for networks like PaganLink and HOBLink (a LGBT pagan network), co-editing with Rodney Orpheus a monthly pagan zine, going to and organising conferences, and generally doing a lot of magic for myself and others – and continually writing about it. I self-published some small books and produced books for others. That early experience in publishing was foundational in my later professional life – working first in book publishing at Psychic Press, then spending 15 years producing magazines for a business-to-business Aviation publisher. In 2019 I set up my own press imprint – Twisted Trunk, and have released two books so far by Mike Magee – translations and commentaries on rare tantric texts. More about them at: https://enfolding.org/books/

6. Do you feel like there are fundamental differences between American and British magicians?

I wouldn’t say so. Some of my best friends are American magicians. Despite divergent cultural backgrounds and experiences we don’t seem to have a problem communicating.

7. What advice would you give someone just starting to explore magic?

1. Question everything you read.
2. Don’t take it too seriously – keep a sense of perspective.
3. If in doubt, try it out.

8. Recently your book “Hine’s Varieties: Chaos & Beyond” was released. What can readers find in this latest release?

“Hine’s Varieties” (2019) is a collection of essays from different points of my life. Since I’d been writing on occult matters for over 40 years, I thought I could get away with a “collected essays” book. But I wanted to do more than just shove a bunch of essays together. The book is divided into thematic sections: Chaos, Paganisms, Practice, Tantra, Sexualities, Histories, Fiction. For each section I’ve opened with some autobiographical reflections, and chosen essays that I hope, reflect how my ideas have progressed over time. I’ve tried also to provide context for each piece, why I wrote it, what had been going on in my life at the time – that sort of thing. The essays range from things written for small pagan ‘zines in the 1980s to very recent blog posts and anthology essays.

(Editors Note: You can find Hine’s Varieties here.)

9. What’s next? Do you have any upcoming projects our readers should know about?

I have a new book – “Queering Occultures” – that will be out in a few weeks time from Original Falcon Press. It’s a collection of essays exploring different facets of what it means to “queer” occult practices and concepts. It should be available early February, if not before. Also in progress is Delinquent Elementals by Rodney Orpheus and myself. It’s a collection of essays, news stories and humour from Pagan News – a monthly ‘zine Rodney & I created in the late 80s. That should be out later in the year from Strange Attractor Press. Aside from that, I hope to be doing more lectures this year, and there may well be some further releases from my own Twisted Trunk small press.

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

What’s the weirdest answer you’ve ever had from an interviewee?

Actually, I have a whole interview that was weird. I once interviewed author Deborah Blake’s cat, Magic. I mainly did it because I thought it would be cute, and it was. Here’s the interview.

About Phil Hine:
Phil Hine has been a practising Occultist for over forty-five years, with a career spanning Wicca, Ritual Magic, Chaos Magic and nondual Tantra. Together with Rodney Orpheus he co-created and edited the UK’s first monthly Pagan magazine, Pagan News (1988-92). He is a former initiate of the Illuminates of Thanateros, The Esoteric Order of Dagon, and the Arcane & Mystical Order of the Knights of Shamballa (AMOOKOS). He was an activist in Pagan networks in the 1980s such as PaganLink and HOBLink – the UK’s first network for LGBTQ occult practitioners. He lives in London, England.

His books include: Condensed Chaos, Prime Chaos, The Pseudonomicon, and Hine’s Varieties: Chaos & Beyond. He has also self-published lectures on the history of Chakras and Possession in early Tantric literature. In 2019 he founded Twisted Trunk, a small press specializing in publishing translations of rare Tantric texts.

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 Witches Almanac

I almost ignored the press release for “The Witches Almanac: Sorcerers, Witches and Magic from Ancient Rome to the Digital Age” by Charles Christian. I mean, these days the new age/witchy marketplace is overloaded with almanacs. However, this doesn’t really feel like an almanac. More like a self-contained reference book.

Dictionary.com defines an almanac as,
“an annual publication containing a calendar for the coming year, the times of such events and phenomena as anniversaries, sunrises and sunsets, phases of the moon, tides, etc., and other statistical information and related topics.
a publication containing astronomical or meteorological information, usually including future positions of celestial objects, star magnitudes, and culmination dates of constellations.
an annual reference book of useful and interesting facts relating to countries of the world, sports, entertainment, etc.”

And the thing is, “The Witches Almanac” isn’t really any of those things, other than being filled with interesting facts. So, what is “The Witches Almanac?” Essentially, Christian has put together “a biographical dictionary of the best-known practitioners and exponents of magic from the earliest times through until the present day.” The author explains, “This is primarily a book about people, but instead of the traditional approach of a biographical dictionary with all entries in strictly alphabetical order, I’ve opted to split the text into separate chapters, each dealing with a particular theme or chronological era containing a brief explanatory narrative discussing the historical context and issues of that theme/era followed by the relevant biographical entries.”

The historical context Christian provides makes “The Witches Almanac” a pretty solid text on the history of magic. It doesn’t compete with “Magic: A History: From Alchemy to Witchcraft, from the Ice Age to the Present” by Chris Gosden, but for all the biographical information provided, there is an awful lot of history contained within. And as far as operating as a “biographical dictionary” of magicians, “The Witches Almanac” does a fantastic job. I was hard pressed to think of any practitioners that may have been missed. Also, rest assured, “The Witches Almanac” has an excellent index, just in case you want to find a specific person.

If you’re looking for a rough history of magic that has the main focus on the practitioners that shaped it, “The Witches Almanac” by Charles Christian is not to be missed!

You can learn more here.

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

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

10 Questions with Roxie Zwicker

Today we’re speaking with podcaster, author, and New England’s Mystery Maven, Roxie Zwicker! Join us as discuss walking tours, ghosts, and why New England is the best.

1. You’ve built a bit of a spooky empire with New England Curiosities, walking tours and events, and several books exploring graveyards. How did this all come about?

I’ve always had an inquisitive – or curious personality. Going on field trips as a child, I was always the one asking – “Is this place haunted?” Also, I had some early spiritual experiences that made me a believer in a world beyond the veil. In addition, being adopted into a family always made me the odd one out. I often wondered if people I walked by on the street were related to me. It was hard to find a sense of self at times, and if I walked through a graveyard as a young adult I would ponder, what if I was connected to someone buried there. There is an aspect of healing my past that I became aware of very early on as this path opened up. It was never my intention to create an empire, and if I had to orchestrate a map there would be a lot of twists and turns along the way with a few key moments. One of those key moments was back in the early 1990s when I took a second job as a storyteller on a haunted hayride in the Plymouth, Massachusetts area. It was the best job interview ever, with the final interview request was to scream as long and loud as I could inside a barn. I truly loved that job as it was a wonderful blend of creativity, ghost stories and spooky fun. Flash forward to 2001 and I got involved with a volunteer group that took care of a lighthouse on the New Hampshire seacoast. I had an unusual idea of trying a ghost walk in the local seaside park as a fundraiser. I went through the process of getting permissions and wrote the tour myself and I thought that maybe a handful of people might come out. To my surprise, I sold out four walks at about 50 people each, and the seeds were sown. What I didn’t expect at the end of each walk were the local haunted stories that guests would share with me. The next year I added my own walking tour in downtown Portsmouth and before I knew it I had written and conducted 9 different tours on the seacoast. The tours gained some local attention which opened up pathways to writing books based on my research that led to national television exposure with the Travel Channel and the History Channel. I finally managed to take the jump a few years back and made this my full-time job. It was a scary, but gradual jump, with some sacrifices along the way, but you don’t know unless you try. I eat, breathe, live and sleep New England Curiosities – it’s my Magical Buffet!

2. Can you tell my readers what your walking tours involve?

The tours are a blend of history, folklore and ghost stories with a backdrop of beautiful architecture. On each tour we walk just under a mile and explore each neighborhood as it was centuries ago. We talk about hidden history, like tunnels, secrets tucked into architecture or old burial customs. The stories are a rollercoaster ride, sometimes told with humor (and bad puns) and sometimes the stories are disturbing and downright creepy. On some tours I will share old photos or newspaper headlines to add that extra layer of connection. I strive to tell the stories of everyone from the colorful locals to the historically famous people who visited the city. I love to do research on a continual basis to update and add to the stories all the time. In about an hour and a half we time travel and bring thought provoking chapters of haunted history to our guests. My goal is for people to walk away with a deeper appreciation for where we explored and to also understand that a lot of people are having some amazing spirited experiences out there. I usually give folks a little homework for additional local sites to check out on their way home.

3. How can someone find a reputable walking tour?

Great question! In over 20 years of doing my own tours I have taken other ghost tours and I’ve also received a lot of valuable feedback from my guests. I really enjoy tours where the guide is the researcher and not an actor hired to memorize a script. Tours that offer the history behind the ghost stories tend to be the most memorable to me. You can always check their on-line reviews to see what people are saying. Has the host of the walking tour written any books, or contributed to local history projects. It’s so important to consider that your guide is the voice to the past and in many cases is representing the people and the history of an area. How well did they get to know the location and its people?

4. What role does your spirituality play in your business?

In the very beginning I used to keep my spirituality out of the tour business because I wanted the stories to stand on their own. However, after a couple of years, I discovered that spirituality is something that has come up in discussions during the tours and afterwards as well. Many of my guests will often say, “I’ve never told anyone before, but I think you’ll understand…” then they will proceed to share their spirited experience of their spiritual beliefs. I sincerely appreciate the comfort that people feel in approaching me and I am always grateful for those connections that we make. I truly believe that spirits have so much they can teach us and that they are often there supporting us.

5. When it comes to purported hauntings, do you find a common theme?

One theme that I see often, is that many people are frightened by the idea of a location being haunted – and might even consider that a place needs to be “cleansed” or the spirit needs to move on. But people are often surprised that oftentimes you don’t actually have to go on a haunted tour to have an experience. We all have a spiritual support team of guides, guardians and ancestors. I have one cemetery tour where we not only talk to the spirits in the burial ground, but we ask them about the spirits that have come in on the tour with us. After we raise a few eyebrows when we turn the tables on our guests, we then explore decoding the spiritual signs we receive or discuss “coincidences.” We might do some L-rod dowsing and some spirit communication to delve into why spirits are around. There have been occasions where people sometimes don’t realize that the experiences they are having aren’t from the house that they are living in, but it could be a deceased friend or relative checking in on them – rather than some wandering spirit trying to scare them.

6. With the rise in popularity of the true crime genre, people are beginning to express concerns of minimizing victims or sensationalizing death. What are your thoughts on that discussion?

It has almost been of utmost importance to be sensitive and respectful to the stories that I tell. I am very selective about stories that I tell that took place in the last 40 years. Over the years I have had a lot of guests directly related to my stories on my tours or at my events, whether they were a descendant or directly knew the story. I have had law enforcement officers on my tours, I have even been questioned by detectives working a local case after one of my tours. If someone feels the need to sensationalize a death on a tour, they are not only disrespecting the person, but they are setting a bad example. There is a responsibility the storyteller has to their subject as well as their audience. Empathy is a necessity as a storyteller and understanding why you are telling the story; Is it to inform your listener, perhaps to enthrall them – it should never be to exploit the story.

7. What is your favorite thing about the New England region of the United States?

There is no other place I’d rather live than New England. The layers of history are my favorite things about New England. There are so many intriguing stories about the region that go back even before the colonization of the area. The peoples that lived here and visited here thousands of years ago have their stories carved into the rocks and hidden on remote islands along the coast. Combine the layers of history with the architecture, cobblestone streets, old burial grounds of New England, there is so much to explore and I never tire of those places.

8. Casper, Beetlejuice, or Slimer?

Casper! I grew up reading Casper comic books and I used to laugh at how frightened everyone seemed in the stories. (I have totally dated myself with that response, haven’t I?)

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

I’m finishing up my 9th book, which should be out later in 2023. It’s on Vermont graveyard history, folklore and ghost stories, it’s part of my Book of the Dead series. I’ve just started season four of my podcast, Wicked Curious, which I’ve been researching and writing new stories for. I have a Oracle card project that I’ve been developing over the past four years as well.

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

If I were to lay out a velvet tablecloth on an old table and the Magical Buffet would be setting up a dinner party, what would that look like?

I’d love to think it would be overflowing with all my favorite dishes from a variety of global cuisines: pho, steamed meat dumplings, mofongo, etc. However, in honesty It would probably end up with a bunch of deep fried appetizers and cocktails.

About Roxie Zwicker:
New England’s Mystery Maven, Roxie Zwicker has been entertaining the locals, visitors from away and curious souls since 1994. Her company New England Curiosities, located in Portsmouth, NH has been offering award winning tours, presentations and special events since 2002 based on New England folklore and ghost stories. Roxie’s TV appearances include New Hampshire Chronicle, New England Cable News, The History Channel and the Travel Channel! Roxie is a published author of 8 books that delve into history, legends and lore. Wicked Curious Radio is Roxie’s podcast available on all major podcast platforms. Her website, which offers information about tours, classes and special events can be found at www.newenglandcuriosities.com

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

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

The Witch’s Spellbook for Beginners

I do not need another spellbook. I do not need another spellbook. I kept telling myself that over and over again as I looked at the email asking if I wanted a review copy of “The Witch’s Spellbook for Beginners: Enchantments, Incantations, and Rituals from Around the World” by Sarah Bartlett. However, the name Sarah Bartlett rang a bell, and that’s because she’s the author of “Iconic Tarot Decks: The History, Symbolism and Design of over 50 Decks”, a book I enjoyed so much that it made my Favorite Things list in 2021. And then there was the phrase, “from around the world.” I do love seeing how things are done in other countries. Yep, I got the review copy.

And yep, I’m a fan. “The Witch’s Spellbook for Beginners” is a no frills, easy to understand book of spells that features mostly easily accessible ingredients/tools. There’s easily over 100 spells that cover the usual suspects, such as love, money, protection with particular attention to the best times and dates to perform the spells for optimal results.

Yes, there many books of spells are available, but Sarah Bartlett provides a balanced selection of spells from a variety of places that creates an excellent base of knowledge for beginners, and experienced spell casters alike.

You can learn more here.

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

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

The Pulp Girls Tarot Deck

You may remember that back in November I reviewed “Astrology for the Cosmic Soul: A Modern Guide to the Zodiac” by The Pulp Girls. While working on that review I learned that The Pulp Girls also created a tarot deck, and I HAD to get my hands on it! Thankfully, Quarto Publishing Group was kind enough to send me one.

I had high expectations for the deck, and they were met. The most important thing is that the whimsical artwork that I fell in love with when reading “Astrology for the Cosmic Soul” is on full display in “The Pulp Girls Tarot Deck.” I mean, I cannot lie to you, the artwork is the main appeal of this deck. It’s not as if they reinvented the tarot. The Pulp Girls follow the tradition Rider-Waite-Smith format; however, their artwork makes for a more female forward, racially inclusive experience.

The companion book is well-written, providing most of your basic tarot guide information such as basic card spreads and card meanings. The Pulp Girls also include affirmations, which definitely infuses the deck with a good vibe.

Do you NEED “The Pulp Girls Tarot Deck?” Probably not. That said, if you’re in the market for a fun, feminine interpretation of the tarot with wonderful art, you’ll want this deck.

You can learn more here.

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

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

Witches of World War II

Anyone that has known me for awhile knows that the only thing I find more interesting than magic is the people who practice it. Therefore, the graphic novel, “Witches of World War II” by Paul Cornell with art by Valeria Burzo was too juicy to pass up. Although a work of fiction, Cornell shows some genuine occult nerd bona fide with his creative use of actual history and well-established magical lore to tell the tale of the greatest magicians of the era coming together to battle Nazi Germany. Shall I introduce you to our colorful cast of character?

The leader of the team is Doreen Valiente, who is best known today as one of the founders and shapers of Wicca. Valiente lost her husband in the war, and although has never officially been found to have served in the war effort, she did spend extended periods away from her family during the war and never spoke about what happened. Next is Gerald Gardner, founder of Gardnerian Wicca. Gardner was an ARP Warden during the war and with his New Forest Coven facilitated the famous “Operation Cone of Power” to keep Britain from being invaded. Another magic practitioner known to have undertaken magical workings to help Britain during the war was Dion Fortune, a well-known British occultist and one of the founders of The Fraternity of the Inner Light. Her letter writing efforts of magical operations undertaken during the war have been cataloged into the book “The Magical Battle of Britain”, a book that drifts in and out of print. Aleister Crowley certainly needs no introduction as he founded Thelema with its assorted organizations and had a penchant for publicity. There is much lore, and some fact, around the idea that Crowley aided Britain during the war, whether in an official capacity or not is up for debate. It is true he corresponded with Rudolf Hess, a Nazi big wig with an interest in the occult. Last is Rollo Ahmed, he wrote about magic as well as his experiences being a black man in Britain.

Cornell takes this band of magic makers on a fantastical wartime journey filled with intrigue, heroics, a cameo from Winston Churchill, and Valiente punching a Nazi. Along the way you see magic and scams, learning that the line between magician and conman can at times be thin, and that both can be effective in times of war. Burzo’s artistic style worked well with the story and did an excellent job rendering these characters.

I cannot stress enough how much I enjoyed “Witches of World War II.” It appealed to my occult nerd tendencies, my love of reimaging history, and adventure. Do yourself a favor and get yourself a copy asap!

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

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

Hagitude and Witch Wisdom for Magical Aging

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Menopause is the time that marks the end of your menstrual cycles. It’s diagnosed after you’ve gone 12 months without a menstrual period. Menopause can happen in your 40s or 50s, but the average age is 51 in the United States. Menopause is a natural biological process. But the physical symptoms, such as hot flashes, and emotional symptoms of menopause may disrupt your sleep, lower your energy or affect emotional health.” In spite of the fact that menopause can be triggered for a variety of reasons and that the whole journey can last 20 years or so, Western society at best treats menopause as a joke, and at worst, as some sort of disease that shouldn’t be acknowledged or discussed.

Perhaps that is why I’ve stumbled across not one, but two different books that recently released that discuss the menopausal years. Today we’re looking at “Hagitude: Reimagining the Second Half of Life” by Sharon Blackie and “Witch Wisdom for Magical Aging: Finding Your Power through the Changing Seasons” by Cait Johnson. Both authors work to reframe the discussion of feminine aging with a perspective towards transformation and cycles, not endings.

Sharon Blackie’s “Hagitude” is equal parts personal memoir and mythological meditations on aging. Menopause is an alchemical process that forges and transforms. Blackie shares her story, but pairs it with stories of female figures from history and legend.

Cait Johnson’s “Witch Wisdom for Magical Aging” is divided into four parts, reflecting the four seasons. Each season is represented by a witch to offer guidance and regale you with tales of iconic females. “Witch Wisdom for Magical Aging” features spells, rituals, and DIY projects to help the reader.

So, what book is right for you? Both attempt the momentous task of trying to undue the cultural dominance of youth, and for that alone both deserve praise. “Hagitude” is the more thoughtful book. Sharon Blackie writes with a literary flare that makes for inspired reading. “Witch Wisdom for Magical Aging” strength lies in action. Cait Johnson has conveys a great personality in her writing, but her book differs in that it features things to do, not just reflect on.

You can learn more about “Hagitude” here.

You can learn more about “Witch Wisdom for Magical Aging” here.

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

You can get your own copy of “Witch Wisdom for Magical Aging” here. (This is an affiliate link to my Bookshop, which supports independent bookstores throughout the United States. If you use this link to purchase the book, I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you.)

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

Favorite Things 2022

If this is your first time checking out The Magical Buffet’s Favorite Things list, welcome! I started doing the list as a response to the overwhelming popularity of Oprah’s Favorite Things that she does each year. I started with the argument that I’m far more relatable than Oprah, with the whole me being broke as opposed to a multi-millionaire. That evolved into The List as you see it today, which is 10 things that have been featured on The Magical Buffet website since the previous year’s list was published. So, although many of these items were published this year, you’ll find slightly older ones too.

Every year the list gets harder to make because each year I seem to gain access to more publishers, authors, and publicists, and all of them keep getting better at curating wonderful works. As I typed up last year’s list, I was already dreading the 2022 list, and this time is no different. I already have books in my “to read” pile that I feel certain are Favorite Things worthy.

With no further explainers or excuses, I present to you (in no particular order) The Magical Buffet’s Favorite Things 2022.

1. Lights, Camera, Witchcraft: A Critical History of Witches in American Film and Television by Heather Greene.
I started the year with a fun interview with Heather Greene about this book. The intersection of popular culture with witchcraft has always been a subject of interest to me and her work definitely did the work. It’s one part academic study, one part witchy media guide. Almost anyone would enjoy this book. You can read the interview here.

2. Qabalah for Wiccans: Ceremonial Magic on the Pagan Path by Jack Chanek. I cannot stress how envious I am of Chanek. His intelligence, his insights, and his ability to just explain things in a way that I can understand are all what makes him one of my new favorite authors. Not only does Qabalah for Wiccans show pagans ways to incorporate ceremonial magic traditions into their spirituality, but it also finally explained Qabalah in a way that I fully understood. I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that I also reviewed and loved his next book, Tarot for Real Life: Use the Cards to Find Answers to Everyday Questions, that was also featured on my site this year. You can see my review of Qabalah for Wiccans here and Tarot for Real Life here.

3. King Solomon the Magus: Master of the Djinns and Occult Traditions of East & West by Claude Lecouteux. Anyone who has read The Magical Buffet for any length of time knows that I love Lecouteux, and when I found out he wrote about Solomon, I may have actually yelped out loud. You can read my review here.

4. The Weiser Tarot. Weiser took on the challenge of updating the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot, keeping it as true to its original form while attempting to update the representation. It could have been a lazy cash grab, but instead Weiser created the new traditional tarot deck. Read my review here.

5. Secrets of Santa Muerte: A Guide to the Prayers, Spells, Rituals, and Hexes” by Cressida Stone. Stone discusses a frequently misrepresented deity that is experiencing rapid growth. Her book does an excellent job highlighting the diversity and versatility of the goddess and the ways She is worshipped. You can read my review here.

6. The Other Side of Nothing: The Zen Ethics of Time, Space, and Being by Brad Warner. Magical Buffet readers know that Warner is one of my favorite authors on the subject of Zen Buddhism. The Other Side of Nothing is the book I had been waiting for, where Warner takes his informal voice to explain the formal intricacies of Zen Buddhist ethics. It just might overtake Sit Down and Shut Up as the most essential Zen Buddhist text. You can read my review here.

7. The Bavarian Illuminati: The Rise and Fall of the World’s Most Secret Society by Rene Le Forestier and translated by Jon E. Graham. From my review, “This is 912 pages of pulse pounding intrigue and yawn inducing bureaucracy that was originally published in 1915 and hasn’t been available in English until now.” Yes, it is a pricey spend, but if you’re interested in occult societies, this is an interesting look at the OG of societies. You can read my full review here.

8. Paganism for Prisoners: Connecting to the Magic Within by Awyn Dawn. This is an important work that is well past due. Frequently, Pagan authors tell me that inmates reach out to them for resources and they don’t know what to say or do. Awyn Dawn’s book is an excellent resource. If I had the funds, I’d try to get a copy into every prison in the United States. Until then, get a copy and examine Pagan practice from a new perspective. You can read the review here.

9. Goddess Magic: A Handbook of Spells, Charms, and Rituals Divine in Origin by Aurora Kane. I like goddesses. This book has goddesses. Honestly, sometimes it doesn’t take more than that for me to get excited about a book, however, Kane’s curation of goddesses and the litany of ideas offered to work with them makes this a stand out in the collection of goddesses genre. You can read my review here.

10. The Watkins Tarot Handbook: A Practical System of Self-Discovery” by Naomi Ozaniec. I’m no stranger to books about tarot, but I’ll be damned if this one did not exceed all expectations. As I said in my review, “I was expecting a vaguely new age, self-help book that utilized tarot. What I got was a jaw dropping, initiatory experience.” This book is not to be missed. You can read my review here.

Shop my Favorite Things 2022 Here! (This is an affiliate link to my Bookshop, which supports independent bookstores throughout the United States. If you use this link to purchase the book, I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you.)

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

Sacred Lamb

I’m a huge fan of the horror genre, however I’m a big scaredy cat. I will spend hours reading plot synopses of horror films and novels, reveling in the versatility of the genre. That’s why when given the chance to review “Sacred Lamb”, a slasher movie inspired comic by Tim Seeley with illustrations by Jelena Ðordevic and lettering by Steve Wands, I said, “Sure!”

What happens to the lone survivors of horror movies? Usually they kill their pursuer, shamble towards the police cars conveniently rolling up just after the kill, and the screen fades to black. Of course, many times there’s a post credit scene establishing the potential of the killer returning. In Tim Seeley’s world these are endemic victims, EVs, that are taken to a secret government run town to reside in witness protection to stop innocent people from being murdered when the inevitable sequel occurs, and the slasher returns from the dead.

The story follows social media influencer Kellyn West, who live streamed killing her fan, turned stalker, turned slasher killer, by beating him to death with a backhoe. And thus begins her journey to Sacred Lamb, a quaint town that no one knows exists, where West, and survivors like her, are locked away to be forgotten by the outside world and any would be copycat slashers, or killers back from the dead. Once in Sacred Lamb we’re introduced to a trope’s gallery of survivors of assorted killers. In town, our EVs go to group therapy, terrorize each other, plot escapes, and mostly, wallow in their fate. However, when killings begin to occur in the government’s best kept secret location, we start to see what makes a “killer” and what makes a “victim.”

I choose to read Seeley’s “Sacred Lamb” expecting a two dimensional, but fun, meta horror romp. Instead, I got a crazy examination of feminism, pop culture’s effects on each generation, and the human condition. With chainsaws, blood, and explosions. It’s hard for me to find fault with this wild ride of a graphic novel, although I must admit that Dordevic’s art style isn’t my cup of tea. That said, it did not take away from my enjoyment of this wonderful book.

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

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

Small Business Saturday

It’s happening, the holiday shopping season. Don’t worry, I’ll soon be publishing my Favorite Things list to help you select the best of the best for yourself or others, but today I want to highlight Small Business Saturday. I feel like it’s a tradition that was started by American Express Small Business, but for whatever reason, the Saturday after Thanksgiving is highlighted as a good time to hopefully support smaller businesses in your community. However, what if the small businesses in your area don’t carry that much in the way of witchy magical products? Don’t despair because I happen to spend some time on Etsy, and I have a handful of great Etsy shops for you to consider.

Obviously, it would be silly to not mention MY Etsy shop, TheMagicalBuffet. I am the smallest of the small businesses I’ll be highlighting in this article. I mainly craft talismans, but there’s other fun stuff to be found there.

Next up is probably the largest of the small businesses I’ll be writing about today, and that is SpookyDoodleClub. I love this shop! The artist has a spooky cute aesthetic that ends up as jewelry, hats, lighters, and more! I own multiple pairs of earrings from here!

If you want a little Jewish mysticism this holiday season, I’d direct you to Devotaj. The owner crafts adorable golems and cute stickers. One of her Nazar (Evil Eye) stickers is on my cell phone right now!

Here comes a one, two, three punch of talented professional artists who have set up Etsy stores to sell their art in a wide array of gift ideas.

First is albaillustration, home of Elisabeth Alba. Are you familiar with the “Everyday Witch Oracle” or “Everyday Witch Tarot”? Alba did all the artwork for those decks, along with a myriad of other witchy publications. You can purchase original artworks and even the paintings that became cards in those well-known decks!

JaneStarrWeils is a fantasy artist that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting at a few events. Her beautiful artwork is on mugs, totes, stickers, and more.

The last artist is MickieMuellerStudio, the Etsy shop for Mickie Mueller. I feel like I don’t need to say anything more, but I will. Mueller has done the artwork for multiple tarot decks and illustrations for Llewellyn. She’s kind of a big deal. Buckle up because her Etsy shop has a nearly overwhelming variety of inventory.

And if you know anything about me, you know I’m going to make sure you know that my friend and author Deborah Blake has an Etsy shop! Go to deborahblake for signed copies of books and decks, adorable gift sets, and handmade jewelry. That’s right, she also makes jewelry.

I’m going to close this out with one shop that doesn’t do anything “witchy”, but I love his work. MichaelJoJewelry handmakes amazing jewelry by using parts from broken and/or unwanted jewelry. Some of his work is straightforward, however, you’ll also find some jaw dropping works of funky, chunky, awesomeness.

I try to shop more intentionally than I used to. To that end, I try to support my local independent businesses, after that, I’ll try to find independent crafters, and you know what? Sometimes you just buy someone a gift card to Dunkin’ Donuts. Do your best. Stay hydrated. Exhale.

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