The Heart of the Goddess

“The Heart of the Goddess: Art, Myth and Meditations of the World’s Sacred Feminine” by Hallie Iglehart Austen was originally published in 1990, but Austen felt the time was right to bring it back.

She’s right. In this time of #resistance, Austen’s look at universal spiritual feminism is right on the mark. Respect for the earth, community building, and reclaiming the power womanhood all blend together in “The Heart of the Goddess”. Instead of your typical who’s who of female deities, Austen discusses each goddess from the perspective of a piece of artwork featuring the deity. This allows for a discussion of the origin of the art (geography and date) and with it, the history and culture surrounding the goddess.

To make “The Heart of the Goddess” a spiritual journey for the reader, the deities are collected into 3 parts: Creation, Transformation, and Celebration. Along the way Austen presents meditations, prayers, and thought exercises with the goddesses.

Regardless of how many books you own or have read about goddesses, I guarantee you that you’ve never encountered anything like this. Informative, spiritual, and filled with art pieces from antiquity to contemporary times, “The Heart of the Goddess” is, and will remain, a classic.

Learn more here.

The Hidden History of Elves & Dwarfs

It’s no secret that I love me some Claude Lecouteux. Trust me when I say that his latest book, “The Hidden History of Elves & Dwarves: Avatars of Invisible Realms” showcases what he does best…. connecting the dots.

Whereas generally he uses his “gift for comparing cultures, for suddenly making an unexpected leap, but perfectly pertinent to the train of thought”, as Régis Boyer points out in the foreword. This time much of the focus is on the mystery of who is Auberon? By tracing this character’s existence in French, Norse, and Germanic tales we learn much about the difference and similarities of dwarfs and elves throughout time and cultures. What you come away with is that things back then were much more fluid, particularly in terms of physical appearance, than what you find in today’s Dungeons & Dragons books.

Of course, at the heart of every Lecouteux book is the eventual encroachment of Christianity and how it effects these original legends. As expected, the originals, if they remain are perverted versions of how they began their lives. Some also disappear, only to reappear in some new context. And if you’re like me, you sometimes try to revive the legend in its original context.

If you’re familiar with Lecouteux and like his work, this is one of his best. If you are not familiar with him, this is a great entry point.

You can learn more here.

A Short Story and a BIG Giveaway!

So…. remember back in October when The Magical Buffet was celebrating 10 years of existence? And how New World Library and Inner Traditions generously donated 2 of my all-time favorite books for a giveaway for the occasion? What you didn’t know is that I also reached out to Llewellyn Worldwide Publishing for a giveaway as well. Llewellyn said hey, instead of one book you like, why not let us send you multiple copies of 4 of our newest releases? I was like, heck yeah! Send them over!

This was mid-September and I patiently waited for the books. And waited. And waited. October came and went, and nothing. However, I was like, Llewellyn is so big and busy, I won’t bother them. Then late November I got a call from FedEx Ground. They had a package they had been trying to deliver for a while, but they suspected I moved. The address on the package wasn’t my previous address, it was the one BEFORE that one! Yet somehow the professionals at FedEx tracked me down and got the box of books to me! FedEx, you the best!

Which is why the 10th Anniversary giveaway train is about to leave the station one more time! Let’s call it The Magical Buffet 10th Anniversary/Holiday Season Giveaway Courtesy of Llewellyn! It just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?

What’s being given away? (descriptions from Llewellyn website)

“Traditional Wicca: A Seeker’s Guide” by Thorn Mooney.
While there are many powerful variations of contemporary Witchcraft, traditional Wicca offers unique experiences for those who seek it out. This book explores structured, coven-based styles of Wicca, in which the practitioners typically trace initiatory lineages back to Wicca’s early founders. Discussing covens, initiations, lineages, practices, ethics, and more, “Traditional Wicca” shares tips and ideas on how to get the most from this profound approach to Witchcraft.

Discover how to recognize healthy, reputable covens. Learn how to navigate the process of asking for training and succeeding in an outer court. Explore the spiritual strength of lineages, hierarchies, and initiation. This book also includes contributions from several practitioners, providing valuable first-person perspectives on what it’s like to be on the traditional Wiccan path.

“Essential Oils for Emotional Wellbeing: More Than 400 Aromatherapy Recipes for Mind, Emotion, and Spirit” by Vannoy Gentles Fite.
Throughout the ages, essential oils have been used to address a wide variety of mental, emotional, and spiritual needs. Bring this ancient knowledge into your modern life with “Essential Oils for Emotional Wellbeing”. Featuring more than 400 step-by-step recipes, this comprehensive guide makes it easy for you to take control of your wellness and spiritual journey. These recipes come in many forms, including:
• Bath and Shower Bombs
• Bath Salts
• Lotions
• Ointments
• Diffuser Scents
• Powders
• Rubs
• Salves
• Sprays
• Lip Balms
• Massage Oils
• Inhalants
It’s simple to find the recipes you need with this book’s well-organized categories based on conditions, emotions, needs, desires, and devotion. Learn about therapeutic properties, warnings, storage, and using essential oils for specific issues. With Vannoy Gentles Fite’s guidance, you’ll be able to use these gifts from the earth to benefit every aspect of your life.

“The Orphic Hymns: A New Translation for the Occult Practitioner” by Patrick Dunn.
The Orphic hymns are fascinating historical artifacts—87 devotions, invocations, and entreaties to the Greek gods that are as potent today as they were when they were originally developed nearly two thousand years ago. Designed to be used in contemporary spiritual practice and spellcrafting, this premium hardcover edition features spectacular new English translations by Patrick Dunn along with the original Greek on facing pages.

These translations are complete, accurate, and poetic—perfect for integrating into rituals and magical workings for every conceivable purpose, from protection to prosperity and everything in between. Written by a poet and occultist specifically for contemporary practitioners of magic, this must-have book also includes detailed notes to help you understand esoteric passages as well as suggestions for incense selection and the practical use of the hymns.

“The Orphic Hymns” also includes Thomas Taylor’s eighteenth-century translation as an appendix, an index of purposes, and a concordance with a glossary, a pronunciation guide, mythic backgrounds, and cross references of every deity and place named in the hymns.
These new translations of the Orphic hymns are powerful tools for magic and devotion. In addition to the translations of the 87 hymns, you will discover helpful notes and techniques for integrating the hymns into your practice.

“Carl Llewellyn Weschcke: Pioneer and Publisher of Body, Mind & Spirit” by Melanie Marquis.
To the countless people he inspired, Carl Llewellyn Weschcke will forever be known as the Father of the New Age. This vivid and entertaining book tells Carl’s story, from a childhood influenced by his Spiritualist grandfather to his early days as a member and president of the Minnesota NAACP. Discover the fascinating account of how he transformed Llewellyn Publications from a small publisher of astrology pamphlets into the largest and most important publisher of body, mind, and spirit literature. Read about Carl’s relationships with the most influential thinkers and teachers of the counterculture, and his public Wiccan handfasting and enduring relationship with his wife, Sandra. Written by longtime friend Melanie Marquis—and including photos and contributions from authors, artists, family, friends, and collaborators—this is a book that looks back at the kindling of a movement while empowering fellow travelers on their journey forward.

How can you win all of this? Glad you asked. You have from now until 11:59PM eastern December 24, 2018 to enter. That’s right, the winners will be announced on Christmas Day! Due to the sheer size and weight of the prize packages this giveaway is only open to those living in the United States. Don’t worry, I have many more giveaways lined up and those will be open internationally. Now, just do what the nice Rafflecopter widget asks and you’ll be entering!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Witches & Wizards

You may remember when I wrote about “Human Tribe” I suggested that perhaps it’s my nosy nature but I’m always curious about people. Let me add that I’m particularly interested in the lives of historic magical practitioners, which is why when offered the chance to read “Witches and Wizards: The Real-life Stories Behind the Occult’s Greatest Legends” by Lucy Cavendish I jumped at the chance.

Let me start with, any of the subjects in “Witches and Wizards” is worthy of a whole book unto themselves. Many of them do have whole books dedicated to them! However something about the mix of types and eras makes for an interesting “big picture” look at magical practitioners that shaped our world. Inside you’ll read about Merlin, Aleister Crowley, Doreen Valiente, John Dee, the witches (or not witches) of Salem, Massachusetts and of course more.

I hate to sound like a total book nerd, but I also love the physical format of the book too. It’s small, hardcover with no slip cover, just a cover with beautiful cover art on it. This book is going to last, and better still it says, “The Supernatural Series Book One” at the top. This hopefully means I can look forward to a shelf full of these attractive and interesting books.

You can learn more about “Witches and Wizards” here.

Fairies, Pookas, and Changelings

I’m just going to say it, I love Varla Ventura. At this point I’m pretty much down for whatever she’s got going on. You may remember that I loved her previous books “Among the Mermaids: Facts, Myths, and Enchantments from the Sirens of the Sea” and “Banshees, Werewolves, Vampires and Other Creatures of the Night: Facts, Fictions, and First-Hand Accounts”, and I’m happy to say she has added another one to her series of creature collections.

“Fairies, Pookas, and Changelings: A Complete Guide to the Wild and Wicked Enchanted Realm” is Ventura’s latest. This book is fantastic. The author’s enthusiasm for the subject matter is obvious as she relates assorted tales from folklore. I always love how she unearths the more obscure creatures for these books. In this one you’ll find fairies, pookas, and changelings (of course). You’ll also read about bonga, trolls, coblyns, brownies, and even Rumpelstiltskin! There’s even a section on methods for entering the fairy realm, an action the author does not advice taking lightly.

As always Ventura pulls no punches, letting the darkness around the edges of the fay be on full display. There will be no Disney fairies found in this book. However if you’re looking for an interesting guide to all the creatures the Wild has to offer, “Fairies, Pookas, and Changelings” is the book for you.

You can learn more here.

Dream Interpretation for Personal Growth – Images of Abduction in Dreams

By Dayna Winters

Well, the New Year is off to a great start, and I hope everyone is working hard on recording dreams and learning how to interpret them. In fact, last month’s posting was about just that: We explored short and long-term benefits of keeping a dream journal. Since it’s February and the month so many of us associate with passion, this month we are going to explore abduction imagery in dreams. Of course, I know anyone reading this right now just said to themselves, “What the heck does abduction have to do with passion?” I hope you’ll stick with me, as soon all will be made clear!

Defining the term

At first, the sheer word “abduction” is likely to make a person cringe. The term “abduction” can stir up anxiety and evoke emotions like fear, helplessness, and even anger. In the most general and commonly understood sense, “abduction” means to take something or someone away from a situation or location, typically against the individual’s will. According to The Free Dictionary Online, the word “abduction” originates from the Latin abdūcere, a term that breaks down into ab– meaning “away” and dūcere meaning” to lead.” There is a really seedy element to abduction as well in that such an act can involve someone young, innocent, inexperienced, and perhaps trusting; in this case, the individual might not even be initially aware of the abduction taking place until it is too late: For example, in the event a parent abducts a child. Alternatively, the use of the term “abduction” in a physiological sense means to move away or draw away from the midline of the body or to move one limb away from the other.

Interpretation

With the above-mentioned definitions of abduction in mind, let’s dig deeper into what this kind of imagery might mean in dreams. When thinking about the most common meaning of abduction, you need to consider what role one played in the dream to gain greater understanding into what the dream means. You will either be a perpetrator, victim or witness to an abduction in the dream. Each assumed role will illicit different dream symbolism.

Perpetrator: As the perpetrator of abduction, you should consider the give and take elements of your relationships in waking hours. Good questions to ask one’s self include, “Am I taking more than I’m giving,” or “Am I taking someone for granted and perhaps stealing away with their valuable time?” “Is there an uneven level of give in take in any relationships?”

Victim: If you are the victim of abduction in your dream scenario, your dream may be trying to reveal subconscious fears you may not be addressing. It’s time to ask yourself if you have unaddressed anxiety issues, if you are feeling out of control and helpless, or if you are faced with a situation in your waking hours you might not really want to have to deal with or perhaps you are completely ill equipped to handle.

Witness: If you are witnessing abduction, you’re reaction to the scene can reveal much. Are you terrified, worried, anxious, or scared? It’s a dream so anything goes and maybe you were happy about it. Think about the dream imagery in this context. If upset, do you fear unexpected change or feel like the hand of fate is sweeping in and taking over your life? If you were happy, do you wish something would happen so you can get out of a situation that is less than positive?

Physiological sense: If we consider the definition of abduction meaning moving away from the midline of the body or the separation of one limb from the other, abduction imagery takes on different connotations. If moving away from your body, perhaps you are exposing yourself to emotional hurt or you are moving away from your core values. The separation of limbs suggests a part of pairings: this separation may be positive or negative, depending upon the situation in question.

Rape of Proserpina by Shuishouyue

Mythological Archetypes

Myth is abundant with stories of abduction; two examples right off the top of my head include the story of Helen and Troy or the story of Persephone and Hades from the Greek pantheon. In brief, Hades, so desirous of the young maiden Persephone, gets permission from his brother Zeus to steal away with his daughter. Hades abducts Persephone while she is picking flowers in the field and takes her to the Underworld. Demeter, Persephone’s mother, finds out about what happens and grieves the loss of her daughter, so much so, she refused to let anything grow on the earth. Eventually, Zeus relents and allows Persephone to leave the realm of the Underworld, provided she did not consume anything before she left. Zeus sends Hermes to guide Persephone back to the world of the living, but on her way out of the Underworld, she consumes a pomegranate. The consumption of the fruit eventually results in her having to spend a third part of the year in the Underworld with Hades and the remaining months on earth with her mother Demeter. The later story is often referred to as the Rape of Persephone or The Rape of Proserpina (Roman pantheon).

Now, at this point you probably think I’ve strayed extremely far away from my attempt to connect dream imagery of abduction with passion. However, some scholars suggest the myth of Persephone and Hades has some clearly identifiable elements of passion. First, Hades is so desirous of Persephone; he abducts her and takes her away from her mother and the world of the living. While this may seem terrible for Persephone, Jean Shinoda Bolen M.D. in “Goddesses in Everywoman: A New Psychology of Women,” asserts “Persephone is the Underworld aspect of Aphrodite: the Goddess of Love… and both goddesses share the pomegranate as a symbol.” Bolen also explains her belief that once Persephone accepted the pomegranate for consumption, she was volunteering to return to Hades every year. In fact, some scholars suggest the pomegranate represents the woman’s womb and the seeds within. Thus, a relationship that started out with abduction ultimately resulted in a lasting relationship with two willing participants: Hades and Persephone. The story of Hades and Persephone is one representing undesirable, abrupt change, birthing into something new and unexpected. It is also a story representing the transition from innocence to experience. Ironically, the pomegranate is a symbol of abundance, the seeds inside the fruit represent unity, and the fruit is a symbol of unbreakable bonds.

Myth turned into dream interpretation

If you feel the story of Hades and Persephone resonates with you, particularly because you have dreamt about abduction, you should consider the role fate is playing in your life. Just as Persephone had no control over Zeus, who gave permission to Hades to abduct her, it seemed fate was influencing the events in her life. The role of fate might not be negative and perhaps in your waking life you are about to enter into a situation or relationship that you are fated to encounter. The story is symbolic of seasonal changes, cyclical events, spring, and new beginnings followed by a period of chaos. The myth is also a metaphor for the loss of innocence, sexual initiation, and uncontrollable passions.

About Dayna Winters:
Dayna Winters is a solitary Witch, author, and artist. She is the co-author of three books written with Patricia Gardner and Angela Kaufman including, “Wicca: What’s The Real Deal? Breaking Through the Misconceptions,” “Sacred Objects, Sacred Space: Everyday Tools for The Modern Day Witch,” and “The Esoteric Dream Book: Mastering the Magickal Symbolism of the Subconscious Mind”, all of which are published by Schiffer Publishing. You can find out more about Dayna and her work at her blog: http://daynawinters.blogspot.com/.

Encyclopedia of Goddesses & Heroines

If you’re looking for a resource for information about goddesses why not go straight to the best, Patricia Monaghan? Monaghan published the first encyclopedia of divine females in 1979, and that book has stayed in print in one form or another right up to today with “Encyclopedia of Goddesses & Heroines”. The latest is newly expanded and features more than 1,000 heroines and goddesses from folklore, literature, and religion from around the world. The amount of information is dizzying.

The “Encyclopedia” is broken up by region and country; South America and the Caribbean, Mesoamerica, North America, South Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Rome, Greece, Celtic World, Pacific Island and Australia, Japan, Southeast Asia and Indonesia, India, Circumpolar North, China and Korea, Eastern Mediterranean, and Africa, and I’m sure I missed some!

Do you know who Uti Hiata is? How about Ececheira? What about Pidari? They’re all pretty cool. I bet you’d find them interesting. You know a good way to learn about them? Yep. “Encyclopedia of Goddesses & Heroines”.

The “Encyclopedia of Goddesses & Heroines” is an invaluable resource, written by an undeniable expert in the field.

Path of the Sacred Pipe

As most of you know, I’m a generalist. A jack of all trades and a master of none. Generally the books I read reflect this. I have a grand collection of “Complete Idiot’s Guides” and many “Encyclopedias of” or “Guides to”. However when given the chance to read “Path of the Sacred Pipe: Journey of Love, Power, and Healing” by Jay Cleve, PhD I took it despite its narrow focus. It wasn’t long before I realized there was a whole world around which the pipe is centered.

I was amazed to learn how the whole earth is represented in the Native American’s sacred pipe. By learning about the parts of the pipe, Cleve shares the history, mythology, and modern day beliefs of primarily the Lakota, but also other Native American tribes as well. Not only do you learn about the spiritual, but you learn about the actual nuts and bolts of owning and using a pipe. As you might guess, one doesn’t just stuff any old stuff in there, light it up and go. Cleve discusses what gets used, care and maintenance, and the role the pipe plays in different rituals.

I had never imagined that a book about the Native American sacred pipe would give me a look at the Sun Dance ritual, or an overview of the Medicine Wheel, or stories of White Buffalo Calf Maiden. Cleve truly shows how the sacred pipe is fully woven into the fabric of the Native American culture, and because it is, “Path of the Sacred Pipe” ends up being a surprisingly thoughtful and entertaining read.

A Lapidary of Sacred Stones

Now you kids know I’m a gal that loves me some Christopher Penczak. I’m a lady that adores me some Deborah Blake. Yet there is but one writer that elicits a fan girl squeal the way Ol’ Blue Eyes would from the ladies back in the day, and that’s Claude Lecouteux. Yes folks, he’s back, and this time he brought jewelry. Lecouteux…..with jewelry people! Claude Lecouteux’s latest is “A Lapidary of Sacred Stones: Their Magical and Medicinal Powers Based on the Earliest Sources.”

At this point in most of our lives we’ve all thumbed through, or own, at least one book about the properties and/or powers of certain minerals and gemstones. Many of you probably already have a favorite. However with each book it’s about what they choose to include and how they choose to organize the information. Those who know and love Lecouteux know that this book is going to be special, and Lecouteux does not disappoint.

From right in the “Introduction”, “How the Dictionary is Organized”:

I have left the names of stones in classical or Medieval Latin as entries, when they exist, because they do not always correspond to the names of modern mineralogy and many stones remain unidentified, and I am going by the medieval nomenclatures. For stones without specific names, I have created entries of the type “stone + virtue” or “stone + location.”

So to find my birth stone, Emerald, I look under “Emerald” and I’m told to “See Smaragdus”. Once there I find 5 pages of diverse information. For instance the stone was one of the 12 stones found on the high priest Aaron’s breastplate in Exodus 28:15-30. Or, the emerald is used in hydromancy or divination. He mentions the emerald’s appearance in “The Romance of Alexander” and the “Letter of Alexander to Aristotle”.

Hopefully this has given you a little idea as to what to expect inside Claude Lecouteux’s “A Lapidary of Sacred Stones”. A lapidary is an old book on the lore of gems, someone who cuts, polishes or engraves precious stones, or a collector or dealer of gems. Lecouteux has certainly wrote this generation’s lapidary with “A Lapidary of Sacred Stones”. Whether you’re looking for Carniz, Magnet of Fish, or Sun Stone, this book is a keeper!

Next we’ll be examining “Crystals, Jewels, Stones: Magic & Science” by Isidore Kozminsky, that just happens to have “Crystals and the New Age” by Stuart Weinberg along for the ride.