Magical Symbols and Alphabets

I’m 99% sure that I’ve stated this repeatedly on my site, and on social media, and in interviews, and I may have grabbed random people on the street to share this, but when it comes to compilation style books (encyclopedia, complete book of, compendium) there are two people I adore for it: Judika Illes and Sandra Kynes. And although it isn’t titled as an encyclopedia or compendium, there was no way I was not going to review “Magical Symbols and Alphabets: A Practitioner’s Guide to Spells, Rites, and History” by Sandra Kynes.

“Magical Symbols and Alphabets” is truth in advertising. This 260ish page book is PACKED, just stuffed, with information. Kynes doesn’t just tell you what a symbol or letter stands for, she puts it into context by providing histories and purpose. She does not just give you the tool, she tells you why it may be right tool for the task. “Magical Symbols and Alphabets” has 6 parts: Astrological Symbols, The Elements, The Fifteen Fixed Stars, The Ogham, The Runes, Sigils, and The Witches’ Alphabet and Other Magical Scripts. It’s everything you could want.

Let me be blunt, if you’re interested in magic, you need this reference book. It won’t be a treasured keepsake; it will be an invaluable resource that you will turn to again and again for as long as it holds together.

You can learn more here.

Want a shot at winning your own copy? Well, thanks to Sandra Kynes you have that chance! She was generous enough to provide a signed copy of “Magical Symbols and Alphabets” for my readers! Just use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter! The contest is open now until 11:59PM Eastern on 05/29/2020! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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A Practical Introduction to Numerology

I’ve been avoiding numerology for an awfully long time. I always talk about how astrology is hard work. I thought numerology was like astrology, but worse because it involved math. And I know it’s cliché, but math is hard. However, Watkins Publishing offered me the opportunity to read “A Practical Introduction to Numerology” by Sonia Ducie and it was a nice, compact little book and I decided, “What the heck!”

I am so glad I did! I feel silly for having avoided numerology for so long. Ducie’s book is so straight forward and well-written. She progresses through the topic in a logical order, making it easy to follow. And as to my concerns about math, I should not have had any! It is simply basic math. Even I can handle it! It is all based on the numbers 1-9.

Ducie explains that her book is based on Esoteric Numerology, which “encourages us to open our minds to intuition so we can contact our inner self or soul and see the bigger picture.” Although she does give a brief description of other forms of numerology such as Chinese Numerology, Vedic Numerology, divinatory, and more.

“A Practical Introduction to Numerology” by Sonia Ducie is the perfect introduction to Esoteric Numerology. This well-written, no nonsense guide, has sparked my excitement for the subject matter.

You can learn more here.

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Wizards Tarot

If you’re a regular reader of The Magical Buffet, odds are, you like wizards. You may even identify as one! What I’m getting at is, no one into magic would ever NOT be interested in a wizard themed tarot deck. Which brings us to today’s review of “Wizards Tarot” by Barbara Moore and illustrated by Mieke Janssens.

Moore’s affection for wizards, spellcasters, and magic users is on full display with this deck. As you thumb through the deck you may find some of the cards remind you of characters or scenarios from your favorite magical books, movies, or television series. In reading the “Wizards Tarot Companion” for the deck, it is as much a lover letter to wizards, as it is a guide to how to use the deck. It is, in fact, one of the better tarot companion books that I’ve read. Offering new insights into learning the cards, along side suggested spreads and detailed card meanings. Any ideas on the inspiration for this card?

“The Mirror will be moved to a new home tomorrow, Harry, and I ask you not to go looking for it again. If you ever do run across it, you will now be prepared. It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that. Now, why don’t you put that admirable cloak back on and get off to bed.”

― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

The choice of Mieke Janssens for the illustrations was an excellent one because her style feels like a modernized version of classic fantasy art. The art for the back of the cards screams “classic wizard”! It reminds me of old Dungeons and Dragons and air brushed t-shirts in the best way possible.


It is hard for me to imagine someone not wanting “Wizards Tarot” by Barbara Moore. Honestly, the only reasons I could see someone passing is a shortage of funds or a shortage of storage space for more decks.

You learn more here.

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Divination Conjure Style

Today we’re talking about “Divination Conjure Style: Reading Cards, Throwing Bones, and Other Forms of Household Fortune-Telling” by Starr Casas. Or as I’ve come to think of it, “a love letter to a deck of playing cards”. Seriously, do you own a deck of playing cards? Then you should already own this book.

It is no secret to anyone that a regular, ordinary deck of playing cards can be used for divination, but not until reading “Divination Conjure Style” did I realize there were so many ways to accomplish it. Casas discusses conjure as the everyman’s tradition of divination, and what does every family have rattling around in a drawer in the house? A deck of cards. The book includes a detailed, card by card, look at playing cards featuring beautiful illustrations from Josef Bailey. Weiser Books would be wise to considering doing a companion deck featuring Bailey’s work. I cannot emphasize enough how this book opened my eyes to the versatility of a deck cards.

Besides playing cards, Casas discusses throwing bones, reading candles, bibliomancy, divination with eggs, and more. All of this is thoroughly explained in a plain-spoken way that reflects the oral tradition in which Casas learned these skills.

“Divination Conjure Style” by Starr Casas is a fascinating look at divination for anyone interested in the topic or looking to branch out in their practice.

You can learn more here.

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Cleaning – Magical Style

By Deborah J. “DJ” Martin

Spring has officially sprung in the Northern Hemisphere and for many of us, thoughts are turning to spring cleaning. I wouldn’t advise putting forth that kind of effort just yet. Even here in the southern Appalachians, the pines haven’t finished contributing their sticky yellow pollen to the cause (theirs, not ours).

Whether it’s heavy-duty spring cleaning or just everyday tidying up, add a little magical oomph to it. Make up cleaning solutions the same way you’d do a potion, injecting intent into it. Then clean with purpose, reciting your favorite cleaning chant.

Some ideas for you:

Diluted white vinegar is an all-purpose household cleaner. Lemon is considered a purifying herb, not just magically but in the mundane world, too. You can add a few drops of lemon essential oil to a spray bottle filled half-and-half with water and white vinegar and use that in the kitchen and bath. It also works great on windows. Alternatively, fill a quart jar with half water and half white vinegar, then add the rinds of two lemons. Allow it to infuse a couple of weeks, shaking it once a day. Strain, then pour into your spray bottle.

One of my favorite ways to clean is to make an infusion of rosemary, soak my cleaning rags in it and allow them to air dry overnight before using. Rosemary is also one of those herbs that’s considered purifying both magically and mundanely. (Did you know? Hospital used to smudge sick wards with rosemary even as late as World War I.) I add the rest of that tea to the water I use to wash my floors with.

For carpets or rugs, add about ten drops of essential oil to a cup of baking soda. Shake or stir well to distribute the oil through the soda. If you don’t have the essential oil you want, mix about a quarter cup of dried herbs into a cup of baking soda and allow it to sit for a week or two before using. Sprinkle the soda mixture on your rug or carpet and allow it to sit for twenty to thirty minutes before vacuuming. Hint: you can punch holes in the metal lid of a jar with a big nail. This makes sprinkling much easier and more uniform.

Make an infusion of your favorite cleansing herb and spray it on the bristles of your broom before doing a ritual sweeping.

If you change your linens with the seasons, layer either lavender sprigs or bay leaves between them when in storage. This will not only keep them smelling fresh but deter bugs.

With so many of us stuck inside during these times, even more so than the usual winter hibernation, tensions are probably running a little higher than normal. Lavender, German chamomile, and passionflower are all good herbs to relieve stress and calm the air. You can use those essential oils in oil warmers, put the dried herbs out as bowls of potpourri, or infuse them into a cleaning solution.

Other herbs you may want to consider using: cedar, hyssop, bay, peppermint, or thyme. These all smell divine and are great for purification.

Happy Cleaning!

About Deborah Martin:
Deborah J. “DJ” Martin, whom many call the “Herby Lady”, has a lifelong fascination with plants. A witch and Master Herbalist, she is the author of four books on herbs as well as an urban fantasy series. She lives with her husband and several crazy cats in the southern Appalachian Mountains. You can learn more about her and her work at http://www.authordjmartin.com, and find all of her books here.

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The Midnight Gospel

If you know me, or follow me on social media, you know that I am a lady that loves herself some “Adventure Time”. What is there not to love? A cast of loveable characters, having quirky adventures, and underneath the humor, topics like love, loss, friendship, family, and the nature of evil are examined. So, obviously when I heard the creator of “Adventure Time”, Pendleton Ward, had a new animated series for adults coming to Netflix, I was all in.

I knew nothing about the series, “The Midnight Gospel”, before I watched it, other than it was animated and Pendleton Ward was a part of it. This show did not just meet expectations, it blew any expectations right out of the water. Buckle up, it’s an amazing ride!

What is “The Midnight Gospel”? A question more easily asked than answered. It follows spacecaster Clancy, as he drops into various alternative Earth simulations via an illegal multiverse simulator, to interview beings he finds. It turns out the show is based off Duncan Trussell’s podcast “Duncan Trussell Family Hour”. Ward is a fan of the podcast and thought of the idea of animating it. What happens when you smoosh Ward and Trussell together? A mind blowing, psyche changing, legitimately magical experience.

Trussell interviews a who’s who of people Buffet readers know, or should know: Caitlin Doughty, Ram Dass, Damien Echols, Anne Lamott, and more. They discuss topics such as magic, forgiveness, death, drugs, and yes, more. Every episode is magic, but it is hard to deny the power of the episode “Mouse of Silver”, that features an interview Trussell did with his mother, Deneen Fendig, as she was dying of cancer. All of this is paired with Ward’s dreamy, psychedelic art that is so rich with symbolism that you’ll want to watch it again and again.

I know all of this may sound like a downer, but to the contrary, it is seeded with humor and overall, a life affirming experience. I am definitely not an expert on magical media, so this is just my personal, limited experience, opinion. “The Midnight Gospel” is one of the most magical, and magickal, things you can view on a television screen. Watch it now. Then watch is again.

“The Midnight Gospel” is available on Netflix.

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Herbal Magick

When you consider books about herbs and/or herbalism you might see a vast ocean of books that appear to be the same. However, when you’ve received or purchased as many as I have, you learn there can be subtle or vast differences between texts. Some books are very much treatment based, as in they discuss how to use herbs to treat illness and promote health. Others, like the one we’re going to discuss today are filled with folklore, histories, and historical treatments.

“Herbal Magick: A guide to herbal enchantments, folklore, and divination” by Gerina Dunwich is a wonderful book for anyone interested in the magical folklore of herbs. The book is beautifully bound with lovely illustrations. Dunwich pulls on a variety resources to display the use of herbs from cultures around the world and throughout history. Given the diversity of content, “Herbal Magick” is a great book for anyone with any sort of magical interest in herbs, be they a beginner or an experienced user.

You can learn more here.

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10 Questions with Danielle Dulsky

Today we’re talking with author Danielle Dulsky about her books, hags, self-isolating, and more!

1. Your latest book Seasons of Moon and Flame focuses on hags. How do you define a hag, and why did you use this term in your book?

The hag archetype embodies the wildest and most generatively destructive aspects of feminine intuition. She is self-sufficient, sovereign, and strange. She lives on the fringes of what is socially acceptable — much like the Witch.

2. Why do you think we have these words like “crone” and “hag” for women, but no real equivalent for men?

Simply put, because of the patriarchy. The word “hag” comes from the old English “hagge” which was rooted in the Germanic word “hexe” meaning Witch. The word “Witch” is still being reclaimed, but it is being reclaimed. The reclamation of the terms “hag” and “crone” may be moving more slowly because of ageism in our society. In my work, I usually use the term “sage” to describe the masculine counterpart to “crone,” and, yes, “sage” has positive and world-wise connotations ,while “crone” immediately evokes images of the feared solitary woman of the woods.

3. Your previous books are Woman Most Wild and The Holy Wild. Does Seasons of Moon and Flame build on those earlier works?

My first book, Woman Most Wild is an invitation to the Witch-curious to consider the path of the Witch. The Holy Wild is about honoring the reader’s story as holy, as well as an invitation to revision the stories of what history has called “shamed women.” Seasons of Moon and Flame is a deep-dive into storytelling and rituals for each of the 13 moon cycles — in essence, a year-long witchcraft apprenticeship in a book.

4. What inspired you to start writing?

Nature has always been my inspiration. I’ve written for as long as I can remember, and I have countless childhood memories of being outside, usually at my grandparents’ humble mountain cabin, sitting on a pile of slate, scribbling away.

5. I find your writing style inspirational. What author’s writing inspires you?

Thank you! I’m inspired by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Bayo Akomolafe, Adrienne Maree Brown, and John O’Donohue, among many others.

6. Your new book, Seasons of Moon and Flame has 25 mini hag lessons scattered throughout. What’s your favorite hag lesson?

It’s tough to choose! The lesson I am really feeling right now is “What is Wild Must Always Change.” Nature always adapts, and we are all being called to adapt to some very sudden shifts in the collective right now. But if we remember that we are creaturely, this transformation is exactly what we were born for. These shifts can be more like a homecoming instead of a source of fear.

7. You also started an online coven called “The Hag Ways Collective.” Can you explain what that is?

The Hag Ways Collective is the online coven through The Hag School. We get together virtually once a month for storytelling and spellwork. It’s a wonderful group, and I’m absolutely in love with the work we are doing together.

8. In the current climate of self-isolating, do you have any advice for readers looking to be spiritually in touch with nature without endangering their health or the health of others?

Good question! I believe this is a time of metamorphosis or cocooning. That being said, not everyone’s cocoon looks the same. Many people are working harder than ever, such as healthcare workers, teachers, manufacturers, and more. But, regardless of what the cocoon looks like, everyone is experiencing a time of transformation. We all will emerge from this experience transformed in some way, and so I am asking that we look to the caterpillar in the cocoon who melts into a soup of imaginal cells before becoming reborn anew. That imaginal soup is nature — a primordial sort of nature that is the very essence of transformation. So, even though the caterpillar might feel removed from the world and from nature while in metamorphosis, it is in fact, embodying nature itself.

9. What’s next for you? Do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to share with my readers?

Yes! I’m launching two new online collectives through The Hag School: “The Hive of the Holy Wild Flesh” which is a body-prayer and moving spell-work group, and the “Heathens-in-Business” which is sort of a support circle for healers, witches, shop-owners and anyone else who is feeling into this invitation to do our work differently. I also have the next round of my “Hag Ways Apprenticeship Program” launching right around the Summer Solstice in June 2020.

10. What is one question you have for The Magical Buffet?

What are you being invited toward in this moment of cocooning?

Honestly, between my day job, The Magical Buffet, and my health issues, I’m already a bit of a homebody. So, this doesn’t feel much like cocooning. Over course, this is just starting for me and New York. My feelings may change as time goes on.

About Danielle Dulsky:
Danielle Dulsky is a heathen visionary, pagan poet, and word-witch. The author of “Seasons of Moon and Flame”, “The Holy Wild”, and “Woman Most Wild”, she teaches internationally and has facilitated circles, communal spell-work, and seasonal rituals since 2007. She is the founder of The Hag School and believes in the emerging power of wild collectives, cunning witches, and rebellious artists in healing our ailing world. Find her online at www.DanielleDulsky.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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Witch’s Wheel of the Year

Did you read my review of “A Practical Guide to Pagan Priesthood”? Because today’s book would be a perfect companion to it! I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of “Witch’s Wheel of the Year: Rituals for Circles, Solitaires, and Covens” by Jason Mankey, and it is a worthy read.

I don’t want to say that “Witch’s Wheel of the Year” is THE book to get if you observe Pagan holidays, but “Witch’s Wheel of the Year” IS the book to get if you observe Pagan holidays. Mankey covers Yule, Imbolc, Ostara, Beltaine, Midsummer, Lammas, Mabon, and Samhain. Each holiday includes a ritual that is appropriate for large event gatherings, intimate family covens, and solitary practitioners. All the rituals take care to focus on inclusivity. Regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation, you will find a place in Mankey’s work. The author also offers advice from his experiences, and gives you a look at how he makes these rituals his own.

I realize this is a short review, but honestly, there isn’t a lot to say. If you want to learn about and observe Pagan holidays, Mankey’s “Witch’s Wheel of the Year” is the perfect book for you.

You can learn more here.

Shop your local indie bookstore <---This is an affiliate link to IndieBound, which supports independent bookstores throughout the United States. If you use this link to purchase the book, I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you.

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Moon Spell Magic

Sometimes you hit the jackpot. That’s what happened when Mango Publishing reached out to me about reviewing some of their books. They made a few suggestions and I said, “I’ll check out that Cerridwen Greenleaf book.” What shows up in the mail? THREE different books by the author! Crazy generous gesture, right? However, I do have a GIANT backlog of books waiting to be read for the site, and I’m already slow at producing my content. I realized as much as I would like to, I just didn’t have time to read all three books. So, I did an informal survey on The Magical Buffet’s social media as to what book I should read, the top pick was “Moon Spell Magic: Invocations, Incantations & Lunar Lore for a Happy Life.” (For those who were curious, second place went to “The Magic of Crystals & Gems”, and “Moon Spell Magic for Love” came in last.)

“Moon Spell Magic” is a delightful read. In many ways, it reminds me of some the first books about magic I read. Not heavy on rules, or strict on traditions, just pages and pages of spells. At first glance I assumed that everything magical in the book would somehow be connected to the moon, but that’s not the case at all. Greenleaf has compiled a range of magical activities addressing a variety of conditions, and then added a layer of how to use lunar phases and timing to get the most of the work on top. This makes “Moon Spell Magic” a wonderful resource for spells anyone, but an even greater resource for those who like doing their magical work after the sun sets.

There are spells and rituals for solitary practitioners as well as groups, including ideas for celebrating holidays. There is a section devoted to deities, their connections to the moon, and their spiritual correspondences. “Moon Spell Magic” has everything a beginner would be interested in, with enough variety that experienced practitioners would also find some new ideas.

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