Superstitions in the United States

Everyone has some superstitions. Depending on the culture you or your family grew up with, where you live in the world, spiritual beliefs, etc., they can vary greatly. So, when an odd press release came into my inbox regarding superstitions in the United States, my interest was piqued.

Turns out a clever publicist for the Potawatomi Hotel and Casino put together a little report about superstitions in every U.S. state as a tie in for St. Patrick’s Day. Sadly, my email filter shunted it to a spam folder, so by the time I discovered it, St. Patrick’s Day had passed. On the other hand, as I explained to the publicist, my readers would have an interest in this subject matter regardless of time of year. You are interested, aren’t you?

Yeah, you are. And although this is hardly scientific and certainly doesn’t cover all the superstitions out there (but does cover a lot), it is still an interesting read. According to their report, their methodology was:

Using the Google AdWords platform, we analyzed search volume trends for more than 200 terms related to superstitions associated with both good luck and bad luck. The results represent the most disproportionately popular terms in every state. In February 2021, we also surveyed 1,016 Americans between the age of 18 – 75 to ask them about their belief in superstitions. 60% were female and 40% were male and the average age of respondents was 38.

A brief overview of what they learned was the most popular superstitions in America are: throwing salt over your shoulder, bad luck comes in threes, lucky rabbit’s foot, Friday the 13th, and ladybugs being a sign of good luck. 65% of Americans are superstitious. 83% believe in good luck, 50% believe in bad luck. 37% of Americans believe Friday the 13th brings bad luck. 34% of Americans believe St. Patrick’s Day is a luck day. Nearly double that amount (60%) say they wear green on St. Patrick’s Day.

You can see the full report here.


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Life Ritualized

The book we’re discussing today is “Life Ritualized: A Witch’s Guide to Honoring Life’s Important Moments” by Phoenix LeFae and Gwion Raven. If the name Gwion Raven sounds familiar, you might remember me reviewing his excellent book “The Magick of Food”. With “Life Ritualized” he and his spouse, accomplished author Phoenix LeFae, tackle many of life’s most complex experiences.

What is a milestone? There are obvious ones in American society, like birthdays, being legally allowed to drink, getting your drivers license, etc. However, LaFae and Raven explore the true complex nature of our lives and acknowledge that many things happen, big and small, and happy or sad, that mark our passage through life. It is simple to find books featuring rituals for marriage and birth. “Life Ritualized” posits that rituals can not only make the good times better and more meaningful but can also provide solace and comfort in bad times. They cover about any life event you can think of, such as: fertility, adoption, birth blessings, miscarriage, abortion, graduation, new driver, new car, new job, new home, handfasting, retirement, grief, loss of job, menopause, pet burial, self-initiation, and more.

I’m obviously impressed by how thorough this book is in examining the human experience. Raven and LeFae share intimate moments from their own lives to illustrate times when you may want to use these rituals. What I appreciated the most is that although “Life Ritualized” is a “Witch’s Guide”, most of the rituals are appropriate for any open-minded, nondenominational group or individual.

If you’re interested in adding ritual, or more ritual, to your life, I highly recommend “Life Ritualized” by Phoenix LeFae and Gwion Raven’

You can learn more here.

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Dreaming Techniques

Dreams have always fascinated people. That said, I do not go out of my way to read too many books about dreams because they tend to be nothing more than glorified dream dictionaries, and dream dictionaries are of minimal helpfulness. That is why when I was sent a copy of “Dreaming Techniques: Working with Night Dreams, Daydreams, and Liminal Dreams” by Serge Kahili King I just glanced at it and set it aside.

One day while attempting to clean my work area (I operate with a pile-based system. It is inefficient AND messy.) I stumbled upon “Dream Techniques” again. This time I took a moment to read the back cover and realized, this isn’t just a throw away dream dictionary, and I started to read it. I am glad I did.

Most books about dreams stress the importance of keeping a dream diary/journal. Yet never have I encountered an author who has cataloged over 5,000 of his own dreams! King uses his vast collection of dream recollections and combines it with the science available on the subject to help us gain some understanding of our own dreams. “Dreaming Techniques” breaks down dreams into 3 different categories: night dreams, liminal dreams, and daydreams. The fourth part of the book focuses on techniques to work with dreams.

Not only is this a fascinating exploration of dreams, but with its focus on thought experiments and states of consciousness, “Dream Techniques” can prove to be an invaluable resource for magic practitioners as well. “Dream Techniques” by Serge Kahili King was an enriching book that I cannot recommend enough.

You can learn more here.

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Dark Goddess Tarot

In a spiritual practice that at best could be described as “hodge podge”, one of the only cohesive aspects is my adoration of the divine feminine. I’m particularly drawn to goddesses that are misunderstood or viewed as negative. Enter “Dark Goddess Tarot” by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince, a deck that feels custom made for me.

From the introduction, “Dark goddesses are disturbing, fearsome, and beautiful. They can be shunned or overlooked, as they represent aspects of life that people find uncomfortable – sometimes only when those powers are in female hands. Powers of age and death, sex and sovereignty, ferocity and judgement. Of magic, mystery, and transformation. Of suffering and shadow.”

Lorenzi-Prince takes a female forward approach to the traditional 78 card tarot deck. A goddess or mythical female figure is featured on every card, including the minor arcana. Although the suits are changed to fire, water, air, and earth, with the court cards changing from page, knight, queen, and king into amazon, siren, witch, and hag respectively.

“Dark Goddess Tarot” first released in 2013, several years before inclusivity had become not just an idea, but a necessity in the spiritual space. Considering that, Lorenzi-Prince has done an excellent job representing multiple cultures in a respectful fashion. I’ll resist the urge to share every female from the deck, but there’s Kali, Isis, Ishtar, Baba Yaga, Santa Muerte, Tlazolieotl, Spider Woman, Tsonokwa, Baubo, and so many more. The artwork for the deck is noteworthy too, with Lorenzi-Prince not only creating the deck, but creating all the art for it too!

“Dark Goddess Tarot” by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince is an excellent exploration of the divine feminine. A noteworthy addition to any tarot collection.

You can learn more here.

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Entering Hekate’s Garden

There is a lot to unpack in Cyndi Brannen’s book, “Entering Hekate’s Garden: The Magick, Medicine & Mystery of Plant Spirit Witchcraft.” Hekate and her children, pharmakeia, pharmakoi, and more abound in this lyrically beautiful, yet imminently practical text. Ready to dive in?

If you read this website, you’re probably already familiar with Hekate, but just in case, Hekate is the Greek goddess best known for magic, witchcraft, and plant knowledge. Brannen draws on Hekate’s history with magic and plants to update the practice of pharmakeia, plant spirit witchcraft and educating others on pharmakoi, master plant spirits.

Brannen deftly shows all the ways to incorporate plants into every facet of your practices, ranging from incense to servitors and tarot to tea. “Entering Hekate’s Garden” does what quality books of its kind should, inspire to start experimenting with what is found within it. Whether you’re seeking the goddess, or looking for inspiring ways to work with plants, “Entering Hekate’s Garden” by Cyndi Brannen will be a satisfying read.

You can learn more here.

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Devil’s Margarita

As you might remember, over the course of last year I read and reviewed several books about magic in cooking and drinking. 3 of my favorite things, food, booze, and magic! A while back I stumbled across a cocktail recipe on Liquor.com that sounded good and had a very cool name, Devil’s Margarita. I thought, why not try it out and apply a little of what I learned from all those books to find deeper meaning.

So, what goes into a Devil’s Margarita?

Ingredients
1 1/2 ounces blanco tequila
1 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
3/4 ounce simple syrup
1/2 ounce red wine
Garnish: lime wheel

Steps
Add the tequila, lime juice and simple syrup to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.

Strain into a cocktail glass.

Float the red wine on top by slowly pouring it over the back of a bar spoon so it pools on the surface of the drink.

Garnish with a lime wheel.

This is delicious, and obviously super bad ass in appearance. That alone is enough reason to try it yourself, but how about we apply what we’ve learned from all those books to justify drinking it even more?

Tequila, which SO MANY people like to bitch about and avoid, is thought to have protection, banishing, and purification properties. Everyone quit being such stinkers when it comes to tequila! Lime is associated with friendship, luck, hex breaking, and act as an anti-depressant. Wine provides inspiration, prosperity, and love.

If you enjoy cocktails, I suggest checking out Liquor.com.

And if you want to have a whole lot of fun, I’d suggest any and all of these titles:

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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.

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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