Travels to the Otherworld and Other Fantastic Realms

If you’ve been a reader of The Magical Buffet for any time at all, you know that I am a lady that LOVES herself some Claude Lecouteux. He has written numerous books about medieval beliefs and magic (many that have been reviewed on this website!). This time he, and his co-editor Corinne Lecouteux, are exploring the various realms of the medieval world with “Travels to the Otherworld and Other Fantastic Realms.”

In the introduction the Lecouteuxs (Lecouteuxes? Lecouteuxi?) explain that as you might expect, distance traveling in medieval times was dangerous business. Obviously, people wanted to hear about it, but instead of dry travelogues, people wrote tales of adventure and romance in these mystical distant lands. From the introduction, “To come alive, the stories need heroes whose epic deeds – real or legendary – have left their mark in human memory. While some of these figures like King Arthur, Roland, Siegfried, and Melusine have survived in popular consciousness, how many others are no longer remembered at all today!

Travelers’ tales open up an unusual world for us; they allow us to discover mythic geography and meet people from the far ends of the earth. In its own way, each tale reflects the reactions of the human being when faced with the unknown. The letters of Alexander of Macedonia to his mother Olympias and his teacher Aristotle are a perfect example of this. Out of these letters emerge alarming creatures of unparalleled strangeness.

But journeys did not only take place in this world. In the Middle Ages, with its profound Christian imprint, the protagonists could also make their way into the Otherworld, the land of Faery; this is the case with Thomas of Erceldoune (also known as Thomas the Rhymer) or Guerrin Meschino.”

“Travels to the Otherworld and the Fantastic Realms” presents tales of traveling to the end of the Earth, traversing the globe in the name of love and/or vengeance, seeing the fires of Hell, and more! Along with these stories are rare illustrations from manuscripts and chapbooks.

If you want to voyage to ancient, magical places, “Travels to the Otherworld and Other Fantastic Realms” by Claude and Corinne Lecouteux is a beautiful resource.

You can learn more here.

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Witchcraft Cocktails

If you have read the website for any time at all, or follow me on social media, you know that I am a lady that loves to eat and drink. I love it even more when my website enables my vice! Entering from stage right is, “Witchcraft Cocktails: 70 Seasonal Drinks Infused with Magic & Ritual” by Julia Halina Hadas. That is right, witchy shit meets booze. I am here for it.

“Witchcraft Cocktails” is a beautiful blend of bartending and witchcraft. Hadas does an excellent job giving the reader bartending 101. She provides an overview of spirits, bar tools, and techniques. You can become a competent home bartender with everything provided. This is followed with a nice witchcraft overview. It is hard to take such a vast and diverse topic such as witchcraft and boil it down to a manageable introduction. Hadas does an admirable job of covering basics enough to provide the reader with the knowledge they need to get the most of out of the cocktail recipes provided.

Since we are dealing with witches, the cocktail recipes that follow are divided up by season. They range from new versions of classics and some original recipes. I drink a lot of cocktails, but I am not an expert! But let’s answer the question you all have; did I make a drink out of the book? Of course!

Although an enthusiastic consumer of food and drink, I’m also lazy. So, I chose a cocktail that merely required some juice purchases, the Revitalizing Tequila Sunrise. And while on the topic of laziness, “Witchcraft Cocktails” has a recipe to make your own grenadine, which I skipped and used my store bought. According to Hadas, “Blending the rejuvenating agave plant spirit of tequila, the brightness of lemon, and fresh, smile-inducing orange, this cocktail will put a pep in your step.” (Just remember with tequila, you may first have a pep in your step, but if you over imbibe it will put you down.) This recipe evokes the energies of youth, creativity, and purification. Each recipe includes a way to amp up its effectiveness. In the case of the Revitalizing Tequila Sunrise she suggests having citrine in hand while enjoying the cocktail. (Believe it or not, this crystal lover does not own any citrine.)

Full disclosure, I did not feel rejuvenated after drinking this. However, I did not use one lick of fresh juice in it, and it was still DELICIOUS. What is nice about “Witchcraft Cocktails” is that a drink can be as simple (me!) or complex as you want to make it.

If you are a practitioner of witchcraft that enjoys the occasional cocktail, or a cocktail drinker looking for a new perspective, “Witchcraft Cocktails” by Julia Halina Hadas is for you!

You can learn more here.

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HooDoo Cleansing and Protection Magic

Today we’re talking about “HooDoo Cleansing and Protection Magic” by Miss Aida. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I can now say Miss Aida has written a practical, accessible, and diverse book that anyone can use.

This book has made me want to do a top down spiritual overhaul on myself and my household. Miss Aida has offered such a variety of spiritual cleansing options that even a lazy lady like myself have found things to try: treating your personal aura, how to physical and spiritually clean your household, dealing with potentially cursed objects, what to do when things go wrong, and more. Everything is written in a welcoming, conversational tone.

If you’re interested in a little DIY spiritual cleansing, “HooDoo Cleansing and Protection Magic” by Miss Aida is a must own!

You can learn more here.

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Horse Magick

Full disclosure, I am not a fan of horses. It’s not like I actively hate them, I just don’t have that gushing adoration that so many people have for them. As a little girl, I never went through a “horse phase”. I didn’t even go crazy for unicorns until my late teens/early twenties when I learned more about them. (Specifically, that they could be beautiful killers. The murdering unicorns are the ONLY reason to watch the movie “Cabin in the Woods”.)

So, why on earth did I agree to read “Horse Magick: Spells and Rituals for Self-Empowerment, Protection, and Prosperity” by Lawren Leo with Domenic Leo? Honestly, I could not tell you why. What I can tell you is that I am glad I did!

Each chapter features a horse drawn from a wonderfully curated collection of examples in religion, folklore, and history. After the example you will find a spell or ritual associated with or inspired by the example. The spells are clearly written and well thought out, being sure to list supplies at the start. And, if you’re a nerd like me, the BEST part is at the end of each chapter there is a list of additional resources! I don’t if it was the authors or the publisher who made the decision to do this, but I hope to see more books going forward contain this feature.

Along with the spells and rituals, “Horse Magick” also has a chapter devoted to “Equine Dreams”. This is essentially a horse-based dream dictionary. If you dream of horses in any scenario, you will probably find a meaning for it in there.

Did Lawren and Domenic Leo convert me into a horse lover? No. Did they create a compelling collection of folklore and magic that I basically read straight through in a day because it was so interesting? Yes.

You can learn more here.

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10 Questions with Deborah Blake (with Giveaway)

This is an interview with Deborah Blake, author of The Goddess is in the Details, Everyday Witchcraft and numerous other books from Llewellyn, along with popular tarot and oracle decks. She’s also written the award-winning author of the Baba Yaga and Broken Rider paranormal romance series and the Veiled Magic urban fantasies from Berkley.

1. Considering the current situation, we cannot really start without me first asking, how are you doing?

I’m hanging in there. I feel very fortunate, all things considered. I live in a rural area that hasn’t been as badly hit as some, and no one I know has gotten sick. I have a nice house to hide out in and the cats for company. On the down-side, I am definitely feeling the stress, as most people are. It has made it hard to be creative. And I miss being able to hang out with my friends. Blue Moon Circle, my coven, finally got together yesterday for the solstice for the first time since February (outside, safely distancing, of course). It was lovely.

2. Your latest book is “Modern Witchcraft: Goddess Empowerment for the Kick-Ass Woman.” What made you decide to do a goddess-oriented book on witchcraft?

It just felt like the right time. So many women I know are struggling with feeling scared/worried/angry/frustrated/triggered, sometimes all at the same time. I think many of us feel helpless, no matter how hard we work for positive change. So I wanted to write a book that would help women (anyone who identifies as female in any way, really) feel empowered and heard instead.

3. “Modern Witchcraft” serves as a comprehensive introduction to witchcraft practice, which is a huge topic. How difficult was it to decide what to include?

Nearly impossible! On the one hand, I am writing for a new audience, and I’m assuming that at least a portion of them are coming to Witchcraft for the first time. On the other hand, goddesses are such a huge topic on their own, I didn’t want to spend too much time in the book talking about basic practices and tenets, instead of the focus of the book. Hopefully I managed a good balance.

4. Who are some of your favorite goddesses and why?

I often call on the goddess in a general way, rather than invoking a specific one. But I confess to a certain fondness for Hecate, who is both protective and kick-ass, and very witchy. If I have a personal deity, it is Her. I love Brigid for Her healing and creative aspects, and of course, Bast because cats are Her sacred animal.
5. Do you have any goddesses on your altar?

At the moment, I have a statue on my main altar of Brigid that was a gift from my daughter. She is standing in front of a cauldron and holding a sacred flame. On the altar in my bedroom, which is devoted to the spirits of my cats who are no longer with me, I have two very rough pottery statues of god and goddess in their more primitive, less specific forms.

6. In these times of upheaval, how can witchcraft help?

I think having a spiritual path—no matter what it is—helps to ground us during the tough times, and brings us a measure of peace we may not find in other aspects of our lives. For me, Witchcraft also allows me to connect with the gods on a daily basis and to do spellwork for protection, healing, and other issues that are so important right now.

7. In “Modern Witchcraft” you mention that you have a lot of books about goddesses. I consider myself to be a lady with a lot of books about goddesses. So exactly how many books do you have? Yes, I want to see if mine is bigger than yours. Goddess book collections, that is.

Ooh, it’s on! Let me go count… Okay, I have ten books specifically focused on goddesses, and lots more that have large sections about them. Plus, five different goddess oracles (I suspect you’ve got me beat).

FYI, I have 3 about specific goddesses, 8 about assorted goddesses, and 3 oracle decks based on goddesses.

8. You have mentioned on social media that there have been knock off copies of your tarot decks (Everyday Witch Tarot and Everyday Witch Oracle) online. How prevalent of a problem is copyright infringement in your industry?

It’s insane. Until I became an author, I had no idea how bad the problem was, and it seems to be exploding exponentially. I get alerts daily about free downloads of my books (which not only means neither the publisher nor I make any money on them, but usually the people who download them get free viruses along with their stolen books) and I’m starting to get constant emails from people complaining to me that they bought a copy of the tarot for four dollars (instead of the 25-30 it should cost) and wondering why it didn’t come with the printed guidebook, or why there are cards missing—and can I please fix it. No, no I can’t. It is incredibly discouraging to work so hard and then have that work stolen.

9. Do you have any upcoming projects you want to share with our readers?

I do! I am working on a new book with Llewellyn which will be out sometime early in 2022, I think. It is The Modern Eclectic Witch’s Book of Shadows, and I’m having a lot of fun with it. It is going to be in full color! I also have a new cozy mystery series coming out from Berkley, about a woman who buys a rundown animal rescue. It’s actually loosely based on the shelter I got my cats Diana and Harry Dresden from, and I’m planning to donate part of my sales to them when it comes out. (February 2021.) The first book is called Furbidden Fatality. There is a little black kitten in it that might remind you of someone you once knew.

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

I always see you posting amazing pictures of the breakfasts you get at local restaurants. I’m a little jealous! Which breakfast is your favorite?

Here in Ballston Spa, NY we have A LOT of great places to eat, run by so many passionate people. There are many delicious breakfasts to be found, but the absolute BEST way we’ve been doing breakfast is ordering the Breakfast Fries from The Ribbon Café. Brace yourself, it is a pile of fries, covered in sausage gravy (using sausage that’s made in house), with bacon, ham, cheese, and topped with a fried egg. We get it to go. Then stop at Nomad Coffee and Crepes, where the owner roasts his own coffee beans. There I get their new Espresso Fizz, which is iced espresso, with elder flower tonic, orange, and orange bitters. The two go together so well, and I’m being socially responsible getting it all as take out!

About Deborah Blake:
Deborah Blake is the award-winning author of the Baba Yaga and Broken Rider paranormal romance series and the Veiled Magic urban fantasies from Berkley.

Deborah has also written The Goddess is in the Details, Everyday Witchcraft and numerous other books from Llewellyn, along with popular tarot and oracle decks. She has published articles in Llewellyn annuals, and her ongoing column, “Everyday Witchcraft” is featured in Witches & Pagans Magazine.

Deborah can be found online at Facebook, Twitter, her popular blog (Writing the Witchy Way), and www.deborahblakeauthor.com She lives in a 130 year old farmhouse in rural upstate New York with various cats who supervise all her activities, both magickal and mundane.

Fun fact, Deborah Blake LOVES doing a giveaways! So, she has agreed to send one of my readers in the United States a free copy of her new book, “Modern Witchcraft”! As usual, I’m using Rafflecopter. The giveaway is open until 07/12/2020 11:59 pm eastern.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

The Green Witch’s Grimoire

There is a joke about grimoires in the magical community, it goes something like, “I bought this gorgeous book to be my grimoire, but it’s too beautiful to write in.” It is funny because it is just about universally true. I have multiple BEAUTIFUL blank journals that have been untouched for years because I could never write anything worthy enough for its pristine gold gilded edges. Today’s book has made me reexamine everything I thought I wanted from a grimoire.

“The Green Witch’s Grimoire: Your Complete Guide to Creating Your Own Book of Natural Magic” by Arin Murphy-Hiscock delivers. It. Is. Complete. Try as I might, and I’ve given it a LOT of thought, I cannot come up with any angle or component of grimoires that Murphy-Hiscock might have missed. The title says, “Green Witch” but let me say, unless you are a magic practitioner that actively hates nature, anyone can use this book.

The first part of “The Green Witch’s Grimoire” is a journey to try to decide what your grimoire is going to be. What kind of paper will you use? How will the pages be held together? What will you use to write in it? Will you want to carry it with you? Do you want multiple volumes? Will it have sections? Templates? An index? Do you plan on incorporating samples of natural things? Will it be decorative, functional, both? There is a dizzying number of things to consider, and I’m fairly sure Murphy-Hiscock things of every last one.

The second part of the book discusses options for how to use your grimoire: journaling, writing spells, copying important information from research, cataloging the results of divination, as a mission statement, and obviously more.

I obviously love how thorough Murphy-Hiscock is in this book, but what I love the most is how she emphasizes there is no right way to create and use a grimoire, and that there’s nothing wrong with deciding you don’t like what you created and start over again.

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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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

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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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.

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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