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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Green Egg – Laid Again!

Yesterday I received an exciting press release I thought I should share with you.

GREEN EGG, the Church of All Worlds’ legendary journal of the Pagan community, has returned from hiatus as a seasonal quarterly in digital format. The longest-running and most highly-awarded Pagan publication of all time, the current issue (Spring 2020) is the 171st since the magazine was founded by Oberon Zell at Spring Equinox of 1968.

With articles, art, photos, essays, fiction, poetry and letters, Green Egg is a global record of the ever-growing Pagan religious and spiritual world.

Paganism, with its Nature-centered and deeply loving ethos, is one of the fastest-emerging religious movements of this century, and is poised to increase in influence as humanity faces the global challenges of environmental degradation, climate change and human evolution.

Founded in 1962 and incorporated in 1968, Church of All Worlds, the first and oldest legally-recognized Pagan Church, represents a unique form of Paganism: originally inspired by a science fiction novel, futuristic in Vision, and headed by a renowned practicing Wizard, Oberon Zell.

The next issue of GREEN EGG is Summer 2020 and we welcome contributions!

https://greeneggmagazine.com/

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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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Christianity and Judaism: How One Faith Became Two

The latest issue of Christian History Magazine has released with the topic, “Christianity and Judaism: How One Faith Became Two”. The entire issue explores division and reconciliation in arguably the most profound and heartbreaking expression in the history of man, religion and what is His story – that of the God of the Bible and the Father of both Christians and Jews. Here are some of the intriguing discussions from the issue:

Faith divided: How one faith became two—and how their conflict began by Eliza Rosenberg, postdoctoral teaching fellow in world religions at Utah State University

People of Torah: Rabbinic Judaism 101 by The Editors

Gentile tales: How a limited protection of Jews evolved into persecution by Miri Rubin, professor of medieval and early modern history at Queen Mary University in London

Looking for demons: “Golden mouthed” saint preached against Jews by Matt Forster, director of admissions and communications at Houston Graduate School of Theology and frequent contributor to Christian History

Larger than life: Christian thinkers Adopted Jewish symbols—but mistrusted their sources by Edwin Woodruff Tait is a Christian History contributing editor

Kabbalah: A surprising point of meeting by Harvey J. Hames, professor of history, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel

“Never shall I forget”: From 1933 to 1945, Germans—some of them Christians—murdered six million Jews by Chris Gehrz is professor of history at Bethel University and coauthor of The Pietist Option.

Jews, lies, and Nazis: Did Luther pave the way for Hitler? by Eric W. Gritsch (1931–2012), Maryland Synod professor of church history at Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

A land called holy: The founding of the State of Israel opened new questions for Jewish-Christian relations by Robert O. Smith is director of Briarwood Leadership Center, Argyle, TX

Nozrim and Meshichyim: Messianic Judaism combines Jewish and Christian influences, but not without controversy by Yaakov Ariel is professor in the department of religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Experiencing Messianic Judaism by Paul Phelps has attended Messianic congregations both in America and in Israel. He is the father of Michael Phelps, network administrator for our sister company, Vision Video.

“Our Jewish life”: Jewish thinkers, writers, leaders, and artists with lasting impacts by Jennifer A. Boardman is a freelance writer and editor. She holds a Master of Theological Studies from Bethel Seminary with a concentration in Christian history.

Sorrow and blessing: Two theologians seek to illuminate the difficult history in this issue by Ellen T. Charry is professor emerita of theology at Princeton Theological Seminary and is working on a project about Jewish-Christian relations tentatively titled “Who Is the Israel of God?” Holly Taylor Coolman is assistant professor of theology at Providence College. Her current research focuses on Christian theologies of the Jewish people.

You can read the issue here.

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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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A Practical Guide to Pagan Priesthood & Giveaway

I’m blown away by today’s book, “A Practical Guide to Pagan Priesthood: Community Leadership and Vocation” by Rev. Lora O’Brien. With O’Brien’s experience she could have written any number of “sexy” books about Celtic/Irish religious and magical traditions, however she took up the far less sensational, but far more noble, topic of what it takes to be a valuable spiritual leader.

I’m always curious how new religious groups form and organize. I highly doubt most Pagan groups come together with as much forethought as Rev. O’Brien advises for their leaders. However, they should. While being respectful of each practitioner’s individuality, O’Brien provides heaps of useful suggestions and guidance for those who would want to become leaders in their Pagan communities.

She begins with the duties of a priest, which is divided into the pastoral and sacerdotal. The pastoral covers things such as self-discipline, counseling, holding yourself to high standards, keeping tabs on the community, and how to learn from mistakes. The sacerdotal includes subjects like designing rituals, handling initiation and ordination, facilitating life rites, and more spiritually oriented topics.

This leads to developing pastoral skills, such as group dynamics, accountability and ethics, leadership development, mentoring, teaching classes, and crisis care. Then it’s on to developing sacerdotal skills like connecting to deities, magical skills and the ethics of magic, etc. O’Brien concludes with an interesting, informal survey of leaders of religious communities about their practices and a wonderful list of online resources.

“A Practical Guide to Pagan Priesthood” by Rev. Lora O’Brien is a must read for anyone who considers themselves a leader and for any who aspire to lead.

You can learn more here.

Guess who has an extra copy of the great book? Guess who is going to give it away to one lucky reader? YEP! Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below! Contest ends on 03/13/2020 at 11:59pm eastern.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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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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Your Goddess Year

Hello new year! Now is the perfect time to get your hands on “Your Goddess Year” by Skye Alexander!

Why? Because this beautifully illustrated book features a different goddess for each week of the year! For instance, you’re reading this during January 1-7, the first week of “Your Goddess Year”. The featured goddess is Sophia, who you learn from this book is less of a goddess and more like Wisdom incarnate. Not too shabby, right? The author gives a brief bit of background on each goddess, why you want to invite, or invoke her, if you will. Also included are instructions as to how you might want to go about doing that.

Alexander does an excellent job of presenting a diverse offering of female deities and women of power. Like who? Hera, Baba Yaga, Pele, Fortuna, Athena, Sekhmet, Oshun, and many more!

If you’re looking to learn more about the divine feminine, “Your Goddess Year” is a fantastic way to do that!

You can learn more here.

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Are You Willing to Take Up the Shepherd’s Staff — and Help Spread Love & Peace

By James Twyman

Set aside your computer for a moment and see if you can guess who wrote these words: “I made a mistake. Without doubt, an oppressed multitude had to be liberated, but our method only provoked further oppression and atrocious massacres. What was really needed…were ten Francis of Assisi’s.”

I love asking this question and I’m not surprised when people give credit to revolutionary characters like Gandhi or Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. When I tell them they’re wrong their answers become even more interesting – Napoleon, George Washington, etc. “How about John Lennon?” someone recently asked.

“You’re close,” I said, “but only because their names sound similar. The answer is Lenin, not Lennon – the architect of the Russian Revolution, Vladimir Lenin.”

Lenin? Is it possible that the communist leader who referred to religion as “medieval mildew” and called the clergy “gendarmes (French policemen) in cassocks” had fallen in love with a twelfth century Italian mystic who gave everything he owned to the poor in order to live the Gospel of Jesus as perfectly as he could? Clearly St. Francis has inspired millions of people for more than eight hundred years, to the point that statues of the saint occupy gardens everywhere you look today, but how did an atheist like Lenin become so enthralled?

Maybe Lenin has something to teach all of us in this regard. The end of the quote is: “What was really needed in Russia were ten Francis of Assisi’s,” but we could just as easily substitute that in our own world today – and it would be just as true.

Does it sound like a ridiculous dream in the world of bullying, fake news and racist attacks? When you know a little about the history of Europe, especially at the time of St. Francis, you realize things weren’t that different – the pope was at odds with the Holy Roman Emperor, city states were constantly at war with other city states, and tension between the very rich and the very poor was at an all-time high.

Which leads to the question Vladimir Lenin seemed to be asking – Are we trying to solve the problems of the world with the same thinking that got us into trouble? If so, maybe ten radical people like St. Francis of Assisi are enough to turn things around.

Margaret Mead famously said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Was Mead’s thinking influenced by St. Francis when he wrote: “Pure, holy simplicity confounds all the wisdom of this world?”

When you examine the current direction of the world — especially politically — it’s easy to agree that the current wisdom isn’t so wise, so maybe thinking outside the box isn’t such a bad idea.

Presidential candidate Marianne Williamson has taken considerable heat for challenging the status quo. She encourages us to “love with conviction” and “wage peace,” the same ideas St. Francis would have expressed if he was alive today. But at least she is willing to stand for these ideas on a national stage, inching these concepts forward, planting seeds in the minds of people who may not have viewed the world from this perception.

So I’ve decided to throw my hat into the ring, but not as a Presidential candidate. I want to take up the challenge issued by Lenin and become one of the ten St. Francis’s needed to turn the world around.

Here are a few things I’ll need to do if I’m to accomplish my goal: Be willing to give everything for love; think less about my own comfort and more about the wellbeing of others; and finally, challenge my own limiting beliefs and be willing to see everyone through the eyes of love. If I can do that, even in some limited way, maybe others will make a similar decision and step forward in their own way. All I need are nine more.

St. Francis’s example directly challenged the powers that ruled Europe eight hundred years ago, and yet his vision is celebrated today. He lived at the end of what we now call the Dark Ages, but he was also one of the inspirations that initiated the Renaissance, an era of great light and creativity.

Is it possible that hundreds of years from now people will look back at this time in a similar way, calling it another Dark Age? And if they do, will they also celebrate the few dedicated people who stepped forward just as St. Francis did? Are we on the cusp of a New Renaissance?

About James Twyman:
James Twyman, bestselling author of “Giovanni and the Camino of St. Francis”, will bring his stirring new musical on “St. Francis Brother Sun, Sister Moon” to Broadway on February 20-March 1, 2020. And with the beloved saint as his model-he will travel a continent penniless, on foot and with whatever food, housing and further transportation that God will provide to get him there, presenting the play in 10 cities along the way. Twyman is also the NY Times bestselling author of 15 other books including “The Moses Code” and “Emissary of Light”. He has also recorded more than 18 music albums including the Billboard chart bestseller “I AM Wishes Fulfilled” along with Dr. Wayne Dyer; as well as produced or directed seven feature films. For more information on Twyman, and the “Brother Sun, Sister Moon” Musical Tour stops and performances– and “Giovanni and the Camino of St. Francis”–visit: www.JimmyTwyman.com

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