The Secret Texts of Hellenic Polytheism

I can’t resist books touted as “first time available in English” or “never before seen”. There’s nothing like secret and/or forbidden knowledge to make me pick up a book. So, when offered a chance to read “The Secret Texts of Hellenic Polytheism: A Practical Guide to the Restored Pagan Religion of George Gemistos Plethon” by John Opsopaus, PhD., it was impossible to say no. I mean, this book is based off of the surviving sixteen chapters of Plethon’s “Book of Laws”. Surviving. As in, after Plethon’s death the authorities of the time wanted to destroy his work. Can’t. Say. No.

George Gemistos, who later called himself Plethon, lived from 1355 to 1452. In that time, he helped reawaken an interest in Plato’s works and Platonism. The church of the time was not a fan, and suspected Gemistos was a secret Neopagan, which was confirmed after his death when a Patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Church got his hands on Plethon’s “Book of Laws.” The “Book of Laws” outlined a Neopagan religion based on Platonism, and so, the text was destroyed. Fortunately, parts of the text had already been copied by students, and the Church, in an effort to always have “proof” of Plethon’s heresies on hand, kept parts of the manuscript. Thus, today through the hard work of Opsopaus, we have “The Sacred Texts of Hellenic Polytheism”, which is based off of the table of contents and sixteen chapters of the “Book of Laws” as well as other texts by Plethon.

Plethon writes that his theology isn’t anything new and is based on “notions common to humankind and supported by reason.” To this end, Plethon establishes a “Golden Chain” comprised of six lawgivers, seven legendary sages, seven sages of ancient Greece, and eight Platonic philosophers. Each link providing the insights that the “Book of Laws” draws upon. This is followed by an exploration of deities and the divine, which logically falls into the evocations, rituals, the sacred calendar, and more. Opsopaus has reconstructed Plethon’s ancient practices into a format for interested, modern seekers.

“The Secret Texts of Hellenic Polytheism” by John Opsopaus is a fascinating look at ancient Greek thought and practices. It may not be required reading for everyone, but those who it resonates with will find it indispensable.

You can learn more here.

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Spirit Weaver

What does it mean to identify as a woman? In many ways, “Spirit Weaver: Wisdom Teachings from the Feminine Path of Magic” by Seren Bertrand explores that very question. “Spirit Weaver” sets out to inspire you to tap into your feminine energy, even if you identify as male, which is a wonderful change of pace for a book like this. Everything female is celebrated and explored in this book, making it a fast-paced and intriguing read.

Inside Bertrand shares her personal experiences with her European ancestral lineage, myth and folklore, the power of home, goddesses, sacred places, lunar traditions, earth rituals, wild magic, exploring grief, the importance of feminine power, and just so much more.

“Spirit Weaver” is an oversized paperback with 200 pages and beautiful full color illustrations by Kate Monkman throughout. With its lovely illustrations, inspirational writing, and suggested retail price of $20, “Spirit Weaver” by Seren Bertrand would make a wonderful female family heirloom.

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.)

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Goddess Magic

It is pretty well-known that I am a sucker for goddesses. That is why I didn’t’ bother looking into the details when offer the opportunity to read “Goddess Magic: A Handbook of Spells, Charms, and Rituals Divine in Origin” by Aurora Kane.

If you’re a more cautious sort and want to know more than that the word “Goddess” is in the title, I can help you out. Now I’m not going to sit here and claim that Kane invented a whole new system of magic, however she does an excellent job explaining the best way to incorporate magical basics into working with goddesses. Where “Goddess Magic” truly excels is in the curated selection of goddesses and Kane’s great ideas to work with them. I can hear you now, “What goddesses are in the book?” I’m glad you asked!

Eos/Aurora/Tesana, Freya, Hebe/Juventas, Inanna, Venus/Aphrodite, Corn Mother, Cybele, Danu, Demeter/Ceres, Hera/Juno, Isis, Mawu, Ninhursag, Oshun, Selene, Yemaya, Amaterasu, Clementia/Eleos, Iris, Kuan Yin, Ma’at, Rhiannon, Veritas/Aletheia, Airmid, Bao Gu, Brigid, Cerridwen, Nidra, Hestia/Vesta, Gabija, Frigg, Epione, Berchta, Fortuna/Tyche, Lakshmi, Pachamama, Rosmerta, Bastet/Bast, Artemis/Diana, Durga, Lady Xian, Nike/Victoria, Tara/Sgrol-ma, Athena/Minerva, Hathor, Baubo/Iambe, Ixchel, Laetitia, and yes, there are more that I didn’t list here!

Seriously, if you are into goddesses, like I am, you NEED “Goddess Magic.” If you’re interested in incorporating goddesses into your practice, you NEED “Goddess Magic.” If you think there isn’t a goddess out there for you, you’re wrong, and you NEED “Goddess Magic.” I guess what I’m saying is that you really need “Goddess Magic” by Aurora Kane.

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.)

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10 Questions with Cairelle Crow & Laura Louella (Giveaway)

What happens when you interview two different authors separately about the same thing? In this case, you find out that they really do work well together. Please enjoy this interview with Cairelle Crow and Laura Louella as we discuss the anthology book they edited, “Brigid’s Light”, and everything that entailed.

1. I’m guessing most of my readers are familiar with Brigid, but for those who are not, can you explain who she is?

Cairelle Crow: Brigid is first documented in the folklore, mythology, and spiritual traditions of the Celtic nations of Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, the Isle of Man, and Brittany, as well as in England, where she is revered at numerous sacred sites. As a pre-Christian triple goddess of Ireland, she is an object of reverence over a wide expanse of northwestern Europe. She is also well-known as St. Brigid of Kildare. It is debated whether the saint is a continuation of the goddess, or whether the goddess and saint are completely different. Either way, many of her followers accept that the goddess and saint are inextricably entwined and it’s not unusual to see a mix of both traditions within one path.

Laura Louella: Brigid is multi-faceted. She is a mother, a daughter, a goddess and a saint. Her hearth fires blaze, she is the center. She has love and cares for the less fortunate. Brigid is a healer.

2. Why out of all the deities did you choose to devote an anthology to Brigid?

Cairelle Crow: While I work with a multitude of goddesses, Brigid is my matroness goddess and I wanted to honor her.

Laura Louella: I love her, she is at the heart of my home. She is a protectress, a humanitarian, lover of animals and she knows loss and grief. She is an example of how to live life.

3. Do you find there are any prevalent misconceptions about Brigid?

Cairelle Crow: Too many people mistakenly see Brigid as a “beginner” goddess, suitable only for those who need a gentle introduction to goddess spirituality and/or paganism. Brigid is multi-faceted and stands firmly within her boundaries and sovereignty. Her stories, myths, and legends reflect strength and determination. Practitioners of any level can learn from Brigid’s example.

Laura Louella: That she is a beginner goddess and only gentle. Some fail to see her many attributes, she stood up to power, she wasn’t afraid to face the hard things. She was not concerned about being popular when caring for the needs of others. And she showed her emotions and taught us how to as well.

4. Why an anthology, or compilation, instead of an entire book authored by yourself on the subject?

Cairelle Crow: There are so many perspectives on Brigid. I thought it would be great to highlight the many ways she is experienced by others. I was also interested in how she’s made her way around the world, traveling along with immigrants and through modern technology.

Laura Louella: There are so many people who love her, we wanted all the voices to shine their light on her.

5. How did you go about soliciting contributions for “Brigid’s Light”?

Cairelle Crow: We created a detailed request for submissions on our website and shared it on social media. We also asked others that we know are devotees and we asked them to write about their experiences.

Laura Louella: We reached out to people via social media, we contacted people we have studied with, and friends.

6. “Bridgid’s Light” was edited by both of you. How did that partnership come about and how did you divide the labor?

Cairelle Crow: We met when Laura picked me up from the airport. We were attending the same event and I needed a ride! We’d known each other online previously, and a close friendship developed after a discussion of our mutual devotion to Brigid. The anthology, from start to finish, was done together over Zoom sessions with a shared screen. We work well together, we shared a lot of laughs, and thoroughly enjoyed the process!

Laura Louella: We met when I picked up Cairelle at an airport in Oregon. We had met online but never in person. As we traveled back to California, we began sharing our stories, one conversation led to another and we began speaking of our devotion to Brigid. I believe Brigid brought us together and gave us the spark of inspiration we needed for Brigid’s Light.
We worked together, since we live in different time zones, we spent a lot of time on zoom! We wrote together, we edited together, and as the submissions came in, we rejoiced together. I will tell you that Cairelle is the tech person. Without that I would have struggled greatly. She walked me through some of the IT stuff with great patience.

7. There are loads of prayers, essays, and more in “Brigid’s Light.” Do you have a few personal favorites?

Cairelle Crow: Ohhh, this is hard! I love them all so much! Some that come to mind right in this moment are the poem by NiDara, Laura’s essay about her family’s quilting tradition, and Raven Morgaine’s beautiful portrayal of Maman Brijit. I also love Maria Jones’ essay about Brigid and astrology.

Laura Louella: It is so hard to choose a favorite. The one that made me cry is the submission from Bernadette Montana entitled My Personal Relationship with Brid. The one that reminded me that Brigid is always with us, by Tara Anura, Brigid of the Ozarks gave me a sense of knowing Brigid walks with us through great challenges. Love and Honey Baked Apples by Cairelle, I can feel the love in her grandma’s kitchen. Also, Jenne Micale’s, A Prayer to Brighid in Times of Violence, so profound and right now! I cannot choose one because everyone, all of the submissions shine a beautiful light on my beloved Brigid.

8. What do you think are some of the most basic ways to honor Brigid?

Cairelle Crow: The number one most basic way that I honor Brigid is to be of service to others, in whatever way is possible. Even offering a smile to another person on the street can be uplifting. Little things really matter! Other ways are keeping a flame, tending an altar that honors her, cooking a meal for loved ones. The possibilities are near-endless. People will know best what resonates within themselves.

Laura Louella: Watching the sun rise, sitting by a river or stream, lighting a candle and saying a prayer, tending my altar where I place my sacred items honoring her, and caring for others.

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

Cairelle Crow: We are currently writing a book, we are planning retreats to Ireland and Glastonbury in 2023, and we continue to work on expanding our Elements of Philanthropy and Threads of Connection projects. Details about all of this can be found on our website, www.sanctuaryofbrigid.com.

Laura Louella: So much!! We are currently writing a book proposal that we are very excited about. We are planning on taking a group of women on a retreat to Ireland and Glastonbury, details are on www.sanctuaryofbrigid.com , where people that are interested can get on a list to be contacted about details. Also, on our website there is a page called Elements of Philanthropy where we encourage acts of service to honor Brigid.

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

Cairelle Crow: Do you have a matroness goddess? If so, who?

Not a particular individual goddess. I worship the divine feminine in many aspects. My altar pays homage to Quan Yin, Kali, Santa Muerte, Medusa, and Pandora.

Laura Louella: How do you see Brigid; do you have a story or recipe or poem that honors her?

I suspect many will find it surprising that I’ve never devoted much time to Brigid. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to read “Brigid’s Light.”

About Cairelle Crow:
Cairelle Crow has walked a goddess path for more than thirty years, exploring, learning, and growing. She is a priestess, genealogist, wanderess of wild and holy places, and co-foundress of the Sanctuary of Brigid and its flame-keeping circle, Sisters of the Flame. She lectures locally, nationally, and internationally on the blending of genealogy with magic and is dedicated to connecting magical people to their ancestral truths. When she’s not roaming the world in search of grandmothers, quirky art, and stone circles, Cairelle is home in New Orleans, where she lives joyfully, loves intensely, and laughs frequently with beloved family and friends. You can find her online at www.cairellecrow.com.

About Laura Louella:
Laura Louella is a priestess, certified Pilates instructor committed to teaching the strength that lies within, and the owner of Goddess Pilates, where she blends the art of sacred movement with the beauty of the goddess. She is also the co-foundress of the Sanctuary of Brigid and its flame-keeping circle, Sisters of the Flame. Many days, you can find her tending her garden, taking long walks through the forest, sitting by the river, or creating a quilt on her 1936 Featherweight Singer sewing machine. Laura lives in the Cascade Mountains of northern California.

You can learn more here.

Guess what? I accidentally received two copies of “Brigid’s Light”. You know what that means? GIVEAWAY! As usual, we’re using Rafflecopter. The giveaway is open to United States residents 18 years of age and old. Giveaway ends Monday 03/28/2022 at 11:59pm eastern.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Yemaya

If you know me, or follow The Magical Buffet on social media, you know I am a lady, who loves worshipping ladies. Aka, I worship the divine feminine in a multitude of her aspects. Knowing this, you’d know why I was thrilled to get a review copy of “Yemaya: Orisha, Goddess, and Queen of the Sea” by Raven Morgaine.

At the core of an outsiders understanding, Yemaya is a goddess of the ocean in Caribbean and African spiritualities. However, anyone familiar with deities know that there is always more to them than what you see at first glance, and Morgaine does an excellent job weaving research and personal experience to flesh out a deity still unknown to many. Depending on her aspect, Yemaya can be a kind giver of life, maternal, a magician, a diviner, or vengeance. Morgaine carefully explains all of this, along with sharing myths and legends of the deity. The author concludes with the ways to include Yemaya in your spiritual practices. Throughout the text you’ll see beautiful artwork done by the author.

Raven Morgaine should write every book about individual deities from here on out. His attention to the nuances of Yemaya is a testament to his skills as a writer, but also his relationship with Yemaya as a devotee. Would he be able to pull this off examining a different deity? I wouldn’t mind finding out. This is a must read for anyone interested in goddesses.

You can learn more here.

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The Peaceful Protectors

I haven’t heard a lot about coloring books lately. Remember when the marketplace seemed to be flooded with them? Personally, I was sad to see the trend die down. Coloring is a wonderful creative outlet for people like me that love visual arts and are not good at creating them. Which is a polite way to say I can’t draw, okay?

It’s why I was delighted when a publicist reached out to me about “The Peaceful Protectors: Coloring Collection” by Real Weng. She is a freelance artist originally from Taiwan and she has created a beautiful coloring book based on Asian mythology. “The Peaceful Protectors” is 64 pages and features 15 mythical characters turned into 30 floral integrated unique coloring pages and an additional introduction page of the specific character with each image hand drawn by Real Weng.

The artwork is beautiful, and more importantly, done in a way conducive to an enjoyable coloring experience. Hopefully, you’ve never experienced the annoyance of a coloring book that doesn’t accommodate for a person trying to color in the picture. I have, it sucks.

There is no denying that this would be a fantastic holiday gift. 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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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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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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Finding Faeries

I never get tired of dictionaries/encyclopedias/guidebooks about mythological or cryptozoological creatures. That said, there are no shortage of books like that out there to read. What IS a different, and offers a unique take on the subject, is “Finding Faeries: Discovering Sprites, Pixies, Redcaps and Other Fantastical Creatures in an Urban Environment” by Alexandra Rowland.

“Finding Faeries” explores creatures of folklore and what happens when those legends migrate to new lands and urban environments. They discuss everything from faeries to black dogs, and Thunderbirds to dryads. Rowland does an excellent job blending tales of the past with the realities of the present. Their writing style is informative and entertaining, and throughout the book are wonderful illustrations by Miles Äijälä. Just when you think you are done; you are given instructions on how to go out in the world with a fresh set of eyes to find the magic around you.

“Finding Faeries” is actuality quite the achievement. Entertaining and informative, while being sensitive to the assorted cultures involved and emphasizing the importance of environmental conservation.

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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