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.

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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.

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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.

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The Hoodoo Tarot

I don’t know where to begin with this review. I have received, and purchased, many tarot and oracle decks throughout the years, but I don’t think I have ever learned as much as I did from “The Hoodoo Tarot” by Tayannah Lee McQuillar.

McQuillar presents a new take on the traditional tarot, by infusing it with Hoodoo history and practices. She, with illustrator Katelan V. Foisy, present the deck as Elders, Family, and Community. The Elders represent the Major Arcana, the Family are the Court cards, and the Community is the Minor Arcana. The Tools, represented by 4 suits, like the Minor Arcana we’re familiar with, are Sticks, Baskets, Knives, and Coins.

For instance, one of my favorite cards in The Hanged Man. In “The Hoodoo Tarot” this card is represented by Gullah Jack. Info from his entry includes his Biblical reference of Proverbs 16:9, “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” His plant is hemp. More from the book:

Gullah Jack has a noose around his neck, but his face is serene. He has a Kongo cosmogram as his third eye.

Gullah Jack (?-1822) was a Bakongo prisoner of war who was sold into slavery in Zanzibar. He was eventually sent to Charleston, South Carolina, and purchased by a man named Paul Pritchard. Gullah Jack had a reputation as a powerful rootworker with a particular talent for making protective amulets. This may have been one of the reasons Telemaque, a.k.a. Denmark Vesey, recruited him to plan a revolt consisting of only African-born men against the colonists. Gullah Jack instructed the rebels to eat a special diet of corn and peanuts the day of the attack and provided them with crab claws as a talisman to keep them safe. He also threatened to put the root on any other slaves who spoke of the plan. Unfortunately for the rebels, the plan was betrayed, and the revolt was suppressed. All of the plotters, including Gullah Jack, were sentenced to death, but not before Gullah Jack used mysterious hand gestures, presumably to curse all of their oppressors. Gullah Jack was hanged on July 2, 1822.

This level of information is provided for EVERY CARD. Think of how much you can learn from this deck! Think of how much I learned from this deck! I learned SO MUCH. Seriously, I may curl up and reread the book again!

“The Hoodoo Tarot” by Tayannah Lee McQuillar is the perfect deck for anyone looking for a unique tarot experience, or someone who wants to learn more about Hoodoo and its history.

You can learn more here.

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The Magic of Marie Laveau

If you’ve followed me and my adventures here at The Magical Buffet, you know that I dabble all over the spiritual and magical landscape. I’ve only ever had one rule, don’t f*ck around with Voodoo. Not because I thought Voodoo was scary or evil or any other lazy media nonsense, but because my rudimentary understanding led me to see that the devotional relationship between practitioners and their deities was hardcore, very transactional, and if you didn’t pay what you owed, you got the spiritual beatdown. Essentially, not a practice designed for lazy, build your own spirituality/magic types like me. All that said, I’ve always loved learning about Voodoo, and my most favorite thing of all is reading about religious leaders and magical practitioners. That made “The Magic of Marie Laveau: Embracing the Spiritual Legacy of the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans” by Denise Alvarado a must read.

What a fantastic book! Marie Laveau lived and flourished as a businesswoman and Voodoo leader during this perfect era of some record keeping, but not enough to diminish the magic and legend building that can take place in history when historical documentation is scarce. This gives Alvarado a chance to provide scholarly research, fantastical legend, and the space to use both to make some educated guesses to fill in gaps. The first part of the book is devoted to exploring the life of Marie Laveau from birth to the Laveau style of New Orleans Voodou that is still practiced today. At this point Marie Laveau is treated as an elevated ancestor at minimum, all the way up that ladder to full blown loa, with shrines devoted to her in New Orleans and other locales. I could have a book three times the length just about Laveau. Her life is a fascinating one to read about, and Alvarado does an excellent job of making her academic research an accessible and entertaining read.

The second part of “The Magic of Marie Laveau” is about becoming a devotee of Laveau, and what it entails; creating an altar, or altars, to her, how to petition her, and how to develop a relationship with her. The third, and final part of the book, is all about the MAGIC of Marie Laveau. Alvarado takes her academic research from elders of the New Orleans community and nineteenth-century newspaper articles and follows those to the modern-day practitioners of Laveau Voodou, to define 12 types of Laveau Voodou magical workings. For those of you who are curious, they are: bottle spells and container spells, candle magick, Catholic conjure, coffin conjure, death conjure, fetishism (doll baby conjure and ju ju), front porch conjure, graveyard work, magick lamps, supplications, and water rituals.

After reading this book, I’m inclined to still maintain my “don’t f*ck with Voodoo” philosophy. However, when it comes to Marie Laveau, well that’s a different kettle of fish. I feel she could happily live on my already existent home goddess altar. Marie Laveau fits right in with the other goddesses I venerate. “The Magic of Marie Laveau” by Denise Alvarado is a fantastic and inspiring look at the undisputed Queen of Voodoo.

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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Crystal Basics

Say hello to truly the only book on crystals you’ll ever need, “Crystal Basics: The Energetic, Healing & Spiritual Power of 200 Gemstones” by Nicholas Pearson. At this point Pearson has already established himself as THE crystal expert. His past books, such as “Crystals for Karmic Healing”, “Crystal Healing for the Heart”, and “Stones of the Goddess” all explored a specific facet (no pun intended) of crystals. Long has his fan base (which includes myself) clamored for the crystal basics book that Pearson himself wasn’t sure he was ever going to write.

But it is here, in all its glory. Pearson’s “Crystal Basics” is a constant reminder that working with crystals is an art, and a science. If you want to learn about crystals, and I mean really learn, like geology class learn, this is for you. How are crystals formed? What are they made of? How are they classified? There is also a decent chunk of text dedicated to exploring the possibilities of how crystals work. A well thought out, well written exploration that includes an examination of the human energy field.

How to start a collection of crystals, including ethical sourcing, is covered, along with their care and upkeep. There are so many ways to use crystals to aid yourself and help others, and you find it all in here. You’ll learn how to create crystal grids and elixirs, ways to cleanse with crystals, their abilities to help with grounding, and just so much more. Better still, there’s a section dedicated to 200 crystals and stones for healing. And why yes, the whole book is full color.

“Crystal Basics” by Nicholas Pearson is destined to be a classic. I can’t imagine what crystal mountain is left for Pearson to climb, but I cannot wait to find out.

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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Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Ceremonial Magick

Llewellyn just dropped an EPIC book, “Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Ceremonial Magick: A Comprehensive Guide to the Western Mystery Tradition,” edited by Lon Milo DuQuette and David Shoemaker. DuQuette is a well-known author and public speaker on the topics of Aleister Crowley and Qabalah. He’s the United States Deputy Grand Master General for Crowley’s magical order Ordo Templi Orientis. Shoemaker is a clinical psychologist, the Chancellor and Prolocutor of the Temple of the Silver Star, and a senior initiate of Ordo Templi Orientis and AA. What I’m getting at is, I feel the task of vetting and compiling this book was put in the right hands. They found 11 authors to write basically 11 books and then Llewellyn put it all together into a massive 528-page book (available in trade paperback or hardcover).

So, what “books” does this book have?
Book One: Foundations of Western Magic by Sam Webster
Book Two: Qabalah by Anita Kraft and Randall Bowyer
Book Three: Planetary Magic by David Rankine
Book Four: Alchemy by Dennis William Hauck
Book Five: Demonology & Spirit Evocation by Dr. Stephen Skinner
Book Six: The Magick of Abra-Melin by Marcus Katz
Book Seven: Enochian Magick & Mysticism by Aaron Leitch
Book Eight: The Golden Dawn by Chic & Tabatha Ciecero
Book Nine: Thelema & Aleister Crowley by David Shoemaker
Book Ten: Polytheistic Ceremonial Magic by John Michael Greer
Book Eleven: Magician’s Tables by David Allen Hulse
Epilogue: The Future of Ceremonial Magick by Brandy Williams

For the purposes of context and disclosure I should tell you that the advanced readers copy I got only had the first part of each of the books. With that said, I found the quality of writing to be excellent. The spread of topics is fantastic. I couldn’t think of anything that needed to be added. This is certain to be a great reference for those interested in ceremonial magic. Overall, it’s a pretty sexy hunk of book.

You can learn more here.

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

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The Hermetic Science of Transformation

Today’s book was originally published in 1897, but it still has much to say today for anyone aspiring to practice magic, particularly of a Western esoteric influence. I’m alluding to “The Hermetic Science of Transformation: The Initiatic Path of Natural & Divine Magic” by Giuliano Kremmerz.

Giuliano Kremmerz was a philosopher, hermeticist, and alchemist. He outlines his desire for occult sciences to be treated as science in the quest for self-improvement. Kremmerz encourages the reader to try things themselves to decide on their effectiveness. He explores the differences in natural and divine magic.

From the introduction, “Kremmerzian teaching satisfies the two postulates required for a conscious and committed spiritual search: a system of doctrines and learned practices that leads those who are qualified for such study to a direct experience of their contents. Moreover, this pronouncement, formulated here as part of such a teaching, is submitted to being personally verified by the student.”

“The Hermetic Science of Transformation” is a beautifully written book. I constantly found myself reading sentences and thinking, I should share this. It’s extremely quotable, you know, if magical studies are your kind of thing. And if magical studies ARE your kind of thing, you need to get this book.

You can learn more here.

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