Favorite Things 2018

It’s that magical time when I share my favorite things of the year. Everything has been featured on my site in one form or another in 2018, so even though an item released in 2017, it can end up on this list, and trust me, there are several things that came out in 2018 that will probably end up on 2019’s list. In a slightly more accurate world this would be the last article of the year, however I hope this list gives you some gift ideas, so I like to publish it when you still have time to purchase items for the holidays. Without further ado, and in no particular order, I give you my favorite things of 2018.

“Queen Up! Reclaim Your Crown When Life Knocks You Down: Unleash the Power of Your Inner Tarot Queen” by Angela Kaufman. Kaufman manages to make complex archetypal concepts simple and memorable using one of my favorite things…. tarot cards! Read my interview with the author here.

“Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive” by Kristen J. Sollee. This belongs in the list just for its badass cover. It inspired me to finally try out black lipstick (spoiler alert, it’s awesome). The book is also awesome. Three labels that society apply to women, their history, and how women are reclaiming them for the better. Check out my review here.

Christian History Magazine. I’ve featured Christian History Magazine on the site twice in 2018, and with good reason, it’s a great resource. And it’s free! No proselytizing, just raw, uncut history. Read my write up of their “Food & Faith” issue here.

“Dark Star Rising: Magick and Power in the Age of Trump” by Gary Lachman. A rollicking look at the potential influence of Chaos Magick in the ascension of Trump. You can read my interview with the author here.

“The Green Burial Guidebook: Everything You Need to Plan an Affordable, Environmentally Friendly Burial” by Elizabeth Fournier. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, if you, or anyone you know, plans on dying, this is a must read. Check out my review here.

“Tarot Made Simple: The Ultimate Guide to Casting Spreads and Reading the Cards” by Liz Dean. There a zillion of guides to tarot out there, but “Tarot Made Simple” has a unique format that sets it apart from its peers. See what I’m talking about here.

“Calling All Earthlings”. One of the best documentaries I’ve seen. The story of George Van Tassel has it all: has it all, aliens, Howard Hughes, free energy, the FBI, Tesla, the military, and a death…or possibly murder. Read my review here.

A little self promotion folks. I came up with some cool statements that you can purchase on assorted t-shirts, mug, pint glass, tote bag, and journal! I’m kind of proud, so consider showing me some love by picking up something for you or a friend! Shop The Magical Buffet here!


“Strange Frequencies: The Extraordinary Story of the Technological Quest for the Supernatural” by Peter Bergal. This was one of the best adventures of 2018! Spirituality influencing technology and technology influencing spirituality. This book has something for everyone! You can check out my review here.

“The Real Witches of New England: History, Lore, and Modern Practice” by Ellen Evert Hopman. Hopman shares research on witch hysteria and persecution, biographies of witches who were accused followed by interviews with their descendants, and also interviews a myriad of modern day witches who influence culture today. Read my review here.

Santa Muerte Oracle

With tomorrow being Dia de Muertos it seems like the perfect time to talk about the “Santa Muerte Oracle” by Fabio Listrani (since according to R. Andrew Chesnut it’s becoming a “feast day” for Santa Muerte devotees).

There is a lot to unpack with this deck, and all of it is good. First, I must address the packaging. A solid box that the top pulls up from. Inside an actual booklet as opposed to those flimsy pamphlets you often get. Lastly, a ribbon to help you remove the cards from the box. All of these helps prevent wear and tear on the deck unlike the form fitting, thin cardboard sleeve style boxes that other decks have come in.

The artwork is striking. The deck contains 32 cards, divided into 4 parts: Emanation, Creation, Formation, and Action. Each part has its own style. There’re more than just images of Santa Muerte, but also Dias de los Muertos imagery, and assorted deities. Did Listrani use this bold style in his previous deck “The Santa Muerte Tarot”? Sadly, I missed out on that one, so I’m unsure.

Speaking of Listrani’s previous deck, the book included with the “Santa Muerte Oracle”, implies this deck could be used in addition to the “Santa Muerte Tarot”. Since I just have the Oracle, let’s focus on all the great ways you can use the deck!

Like most decks, this one features a simple 3 card reading. Personally, with oracle decks I like to do a one card draw reading. Listrani mentions using the deck for an “inspirational” card. This is where you search the deck for a card that you feel represents an energy you feel you need. Then you can carry it on you as a reminder or talisman throughout the day or keep it in sight for the day. This inspired me to put one of the cards on my home altar. The last way you can use this deck is the best, because this:

Can become this:

The deck. Becomes. A Ouija board. Boom. Mic drop. We’re done here.

Learn more about this deck here.

Lunar Nomad Oracle

If you follow me on social media and/or have been a long-time reader you know I have a big tarot/oracle deck addiction. To me there really isn’t such a thing as a bad deck, but after a while you start to seek out things that stand apart from the crowd and I have found something truly unique in “The Lunar Nomad Oracle” by Shaheen Miro.

It’s rare to find an oracle deck with so much intense thought put into its construction. “The Lunar Nomad Oracle” starts on the skeleton of the Lenormand deck, a 36-card deck of symbols that most likely evolved from a card game towards the end of the 18th century. Miro’s deck is expanded to 43 cards but holds firm to its Lenormand beginnings. The art for the deck and the design were both done by Miro, which I feel lends a grounding cohesiveness to the dream-like nature of the oracle. Miro indicates that there are three levels of symbolism in each card: archetypal, general, and personal. Personally, I feel that checks out.

All this work is to help you get in touch with your “Lunar” self, which I would sum up as your creative, magical self. Will it work for you? If it doesn’t, it certainly isn’t for Miro’s lack of trying. “The Lunar Nomad Oracle” truly stands apart from its peers.

Learn more here.

Favorite Things 2017

If you’re new to reading this site, you may not know that at the end of every year I do a post about 10 of my favorite things that year. I try to publish in time for you to acquire said things for gift giving purposes, whether it’s a gift for yourself or someone else. Every year I also point out that my list is WAY better than Oprah’s because all of my favorite things are affordable. Particularly when compared to some of her picks. That’s when I point out that I should just be the next Oprah. Consider this paragraph, my annual “I’m better than/or the next Oprah” rant.

The list is presented in no particular order, and everything is new to me this year, not necessarily something that came out this year. I think that covers everything, so let’s get to the list.

“Everyday Witch Tarot” by Deborah Blake with art by Elisabeth Alba. It’s no secret that I love me some Deborah Blake, but trust me when I say she really hit it out of the park with her first tarot deck. Blake’s witchy interpretation of the traditional Rider-Waite deck combined with Alba’s whimsical art created an instant tarot classic that hopefully Llewellyn will keep in print for many years to come. Learn more here.

“The Art and Science of Hand Reading” by Ellen Goldberg and Dorian Bergen. This book is the real deal. If you purchase this book you truly may never need another book about hand reading. It’s a massive text book full of more information than you may have ever thought available. For those looking to get serious with their hand reading work in the new year, look no further. Learn more here.

“The Tarot of Bones” by Lupa. Lupa is a well established Pagan author of works focusing on nature and her first self-published tarot deck is the culmination of her work as a scholar of nature and as an artist. Lupa’s use of animal bone and elements of nature create a whole new approach to the tarot and makes it a must own for tarot collectors and lovers of the natural world. Learn more here.

“Plant Magic: A Year of Green Wisdom for Pagans & Wiccans” by Sandra Kynes. “Plant Magic” is a reminder that one of Kynes strengths is her ability to catalog the connections between things. In this book the focus is entirely on plants including a plant’s relationship to a particular holiday, what plants grow best each month, and what plants can be found in the wild each month. And of course the magical correspondences of all those plants! Learn more here.

“Drug Wars: How Big Pharma Raises Prices and Keeps Generics Off the Market” by Robin Feldman and Even Frondorf. Not a light, easy read, but an important one for those of us interested in how prescription drugs work in America. Learn more here.

“Secret Medicines from Your Garden: Plants for Healing, Spirituality & Magic” by Ellen Evert Hopman. Reading “Secret Medicines from Your Garden” makes you feel like the author is personally leading you on a wilderness adventure. Hopman regales you with anecdotes from her spiritual journey and herbalism training. This is easily the most engaging book about plants ever. Learn more here.

“Fairies, Pookas, and Changelings: A Complete Guide to the Wild and Wicked Enchanted Realm” by Varla Ventura. 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! Learn more here.

“The Book of Thoth: Egyptian Tarot” by Aleister Crowley. If you’re an occult book nerd like myself, this new edition of “The Book of Thoth” is some hot book porn. This new facsimile edition of “The Book of Thoth” is a faithful reproduction of the Samuel Weiser Inc. 1969 edition, which in turn was a facsimile of the original O.T.O. edition printed in 1944. The text is digitally restored, printed on a heavy, coated stock, and features revised color plates and black and white illustrations of the Thoth Tarot based on new photography of the original art, courtesy of the O.T.O. and The Warburg Institute. The book text block is smyth sewn, with a rounded back, and headbands. Printed endpaper reproduces the Egyptian motif from the board covers of the 1944 edition. The cover is quality cloth over boards with gold stamping on the spine, and is wrapped with a jacket which again features updated art while matching the original design. Learn more here.

“The Yogi Diet: Spirituality and the Question of Vegetarianism” by James Morgante. I love food. I love learning about religions. This book talks about both, in depth. I loved it. Learn more here.

“Botanical Inspirations Deck and Book Set” by Lynn Araujo with art by Pierre-Joseph Redouté. This deck shares folklore, symbolism, and more for each flower or plant. It features absolutely beautiful artwork by Pierre-Joseph Redouté. This is the perfect deck for lovers of oracle style decks and/or fans of flowers. Learn more here.

Assuming the comments on the site are working, tell me some of your favorites of this year! Or tell me on The Magical Buffet’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram accounts!

Botanical Inspirations

Here in the northeast things are taking a definite fall-wards turn. However thanks to the “Botanical Inspirations” deck by Lynn Araujo I’ll be able to enjoy the delicate flowers of spring all year round.

First we have to talk about the fantastic artwork. The deck contains 44 cards featuring art by Pierre-Joseph Redoute. In Paris he did paintings of the flowers in the royal gardens. His etchings caught the eye of botanists who taught him more about plant anatomy. Redoute went on to do work for Marie Antoinette and Empress Josephine. That’s the guy whose illustrations make up this deck. Neat, right?

Deck creator Lynn Araujo dived deep into plant’s various roles as symbols throughout culture, leaning heavily on the “Secret Language of Flowers” from the Victorian Era that paired specific meanings to individual flowers. In fact, included with the deck is nice foldout sheet listing the “Secret Language of Flowers.”

Each card presents a flower with its common name, its Latin name, and a quote or key words to associate with the flower. To give you a complete experience I choose the share the Sacred Lotus card. You see “Sacred Lotus” with the alternative name “Nymphaea caerulea” directly underneath. Then there is the beautiful illustration with the word “Enlightenment” under it. It’s followed by the Thich Nhat Hanh quote, “No mud, no lotus.”

When you go to the book included with the deck, which is way more sturdy than your typical white print out style book that comes with many tarot decks, you’ll find more information about the Sacred Lotus and its “Inspirational Message”.

The lotus flower grows up out of the mud, yet each day as they unfurl and shed the droplets of water, the flower emerges perfectly pristine. For this reason, the lotus symbolizes purity and spiritual transformation. With its flower so distant from its roots below the water, the lotus also represents detachment, a necessary step for spiritual enlightenment. The golden center of the lotus is rarely shown in Zen artwork since it represents the elusive perfection of wisdom. The Egyptian sun god Ra is often depicted with a blue lotus. Because of this association with the sun, the lotus signifies rebirth.

Inspirational Message: Honor all the experiences that have brought you to this place on your path of spiritual growth but let go of the things that no longer serve you.

Araujo offers a few variations on how to use the cards in readings, but honestly, with decks like these I prefer to do a daily single card draw in the morning to offer insight into the day ahead.

“Botanical Inspirations” is a beautiful and fascinating deck that I would be hard pressed to find someone I wouldn’t recommend it to.

You can learn more about “Botanical Inspirations” here.

Yoga Cats

It’s easy to dismiss “Yoga Cats” as just a fun gift for cat and/or yoga lovers, but there’s more to it than that. Don’t get me wrong, “Yoga Cats” would in fact be a great gift for yoga and cat lovers, but let’s look into it a little bit more, shall we?

“Yoga Cats” is a set of 44 cards featuring the fantastic photography of Daniel Morris and the writing of Alison DeNicola. Each card has a photo of an adorable cat doing a yoga pose, the cat’s name, and a thought to reflect upon. I chose Pip to share with you. Pip is doing the Reverse Triangle Variation. The Triangle Pose is my favorite yoga pose, and Pip here is doing the closest version of it to be found in the deck. So here we have Pip, who is super cute, doing the yoga pose, and telling you, “Your intentions are powerful, use them wisely.”

I'm your instructor Pip.

I'm your instructor Pip.

If you look Pip up in the companion book that comes with the deck you get a little info about Pip and what he’s doing. Then there are instructions on how to do his pose, and also some exploration of his message.

This makes “Yoga Cats” a great daily oracle and/or a fantastic yoga pose a day deck. Also, let’s be honest. It’s also just fun the thumb through the deck looking at the amusing cats. All together “Yoga Cats” makes a great, multi-purpose deck that just about anyone could find useful.

You can learn more here.