The Little Book of Satanism

Not to sound too much like Jerry Seinfeld, but what’s the deal with Satanism? Particularly, what’s the deal with our culture’s hang up about it? The answer seems obvious to most. Satan equals evil, so Satanism equals bad. It appears to be basic math, but it’s not that straightforward when you look closer at the history of Satan and those who have chosen to ally themselves with the Devil. Fortunately, alternative culture journalist La Carmina has laid it all out for us in her book, “The Little Book of Satanism: A Guide to Satanic History, Culture, and Wisdom.”

It is no easy task to unweave the tapestry that creates what Satanism is today, but La Carmina does an excellent job untangling the web and laying out a timeline for us to follow. “The Little Book of Satanism” begins in a time when there was no Satan, takes us to Satan’s Judeo-Christian debut, discusses some name branding with Lucifer, explores how “others” were by default tools of Satan in the Middle Ages, more branding courtesy of Dante and Faust, the witch hunts, the Hellfire Club, Satanic Panic, and public practitioners and organizations of today. It is an interesting journey, and once given context from the author’s research, it seems inevitable that there would be Satanists today.

La Carmina’s work explains many of the common symbols and beliefs of the modern Satanist, and highlights individuals and organizations of the past and present. You’ll find LaVey and the Church of Satan, the Process Church of the Final Judgment, Aleister Crowley, and The Satanic Temple. In fact, Temple co-founder Lucien Greaves provides an elegant foreward for “The Little Book of Satanism.”

In “The Little Book of Satanism,” author La Carmina makes a compelling argument for modern Satanism and the role a modern take on Satan could play in your personal spiritual practices. If you’re even slightly curious, I highly recommend getting yourself a copy of this book.

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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The Hermetic Physician

It’s time for 100% complete honesty. I had no intention of reading “The Hermetic Physician: The Magical Teachings of Giuliano Kremmerz and the Fraternity of Myriam” by Marco Daffi and translated by David Pantano. If you’re a Patron, you would know what books coming out pique my interest, and this wasn’t on the list. However, David Pantano reached out to me about endorsing his book and I was so flattered I couldn’t refuse.

Thank goodness I said yes, because I would have missed out on a pretty inspiring book. Kremmerz was an Italian occultist that studied everything with an eye towards benefitting humanity’s health. Kremmerz felt he had found a way to use hermetic, magical, and Pythagorean principles to heal others, even from a distance. Daffi and Pantano assembled Kremmerz’s writings to provide an unbiased presentation of his beliefs, practices, and the workings of the Therapeutic and Magical Fraternity of Myriam, which he founded. I’ve recently been reading several books about occult societies and let me tell you, this one didn’t last, but reads on paper way better than many that have.

I’m not going to say that “The Hermetic Physician” sold me on the miracles Kremmerz claimed to be able to perform, but what it did do was introduce me to an occultist worth reading and considering.

“The Hermetic Physician: The Magical Teachings of Giuliano Kremmerz and the Fraternity of Myriam” by Marco Daffi and translated by David Pantano is coming out in September, but you can preorder it now.

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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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Tarot

Tarot decks are wonderful, and versatile. They lend themselves to all sorts of reinvention, for better or worse. Today’s deck is for the better because it takes the mythic, fantasy setting of “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” (an insanely popular video game) and meshes it nicely with the mythic, traditional tarot.

“The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Tarot Deck and Guidebook” was written by Tori Schafer, who is a writer and narrative designer for video games, and has worked on titles such as “Elder Scrolls Online” and has practiced tarot since childhood. The tarot and “Skyrim” enthusiast could not ask for a better creator. Schafer’s obvious knowledge of tarot and attention to the source material provided by “Skyrim” has created a deck that requires little acclimation for the experienced tarot reader. The Minor Arcana Suits of Wands, Coins, Swords, and Cups become Spells, Lockpicks, Arms, and Voice and the Major Arcana keep traditional names while being represented by a who’s who of Skyrim.

Obviously, it is important for a tarot deck such as this to be well thought out, but if the artwork doesn’t do justice to the game, and the grand tradition of excellent tarot artwork, the deck is worthless. Fortunately, it was Erika Hollice’s artwork that first caught my eye, before I even realized I was looking at a deck based on a game I personally love. Hollice’s art deco, graphic, fantasy style translates wonderfully to the card. The only complaint that I have is in Insight Editions attempt to have the cards be matte, the cards tend to stick together, making for difficult shuffling.

“The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Tarot” by Tori Schafer and Erika Hollice is an excellent example of how wonderful a themed tarot deck can be.

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.)

If you’re a Skyrim fan, like myself, I can’t help but bring these two very different interpretations of the dragon Alduin. One noble in gold……


You can get your own here. (This is an affiliate link to Entertainment Earth. If you make a purchase using this link, I make a small commission at no additional cost to you.)

The other an adorable rubber ducky.


Which you can get here.(This is an affiliate link to Entertainment Earth. If you make a purchase using this link, I make a small commission at no additional cost to you.)

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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.

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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Dominatrix on Trial

I know it will surprise no one familiar with the United States and its citizens that we are generally ignorant of what happens in other countries, even Canada, one of our closest neighbors that even has a shared language with us. This is why when I was offered a review copy of “Dominatrix on Trial: How a Canadian Dominatrix Fought the Law and Won” by Terri-Jean Bedford. I had no clue who Bedford was, and no idea about her role in legal history in Canada.

This is a riveting autobiography that let’s American readers learn a few things about our neighbors to north; Canadians, particularly the politicians, can be just as big of puritanical hypocrites as any United States citizen, and they’re justice system suffers from much the same horrible flaws as ours. Yes, Canada has some issues despite tighter gun laws and better healthcare coverage. Terri-Jean Bedford outlines her life from her beginnings in poverty, to successful dominatrix, to years of legal proceedings that ultimately changed prostitution laws in Canada.

And Bedford is a capable storyteller, she knows what the reader wants. Years of legal bureaucracy is recreated on the page to frustrating effect thanks to court transcriptions. All the while, interspersed, are stories about what it takes to be a dominatrix and first-hand accounts of her experiences with clients. All in all, it makes for a compelling page turner. Honestly, “Dominatrix on Trial” has all the makings for a docuseries, and the fact that one doesn’t exist based off the book is a genuine surprise. I will admit, due to the self-published nature of the original text in 2011, and the work of Riverdale Avenue Books for its release in 2022, “Dominatrix on Trial” suffers from a few confusing bits of formatting that could use cleaning up for future reprints, but it is not enough to take away from a great read.

If you’re looking for an eye-opening read, I cannot recommend “Dominatrix on Trial” by Terri-Jean Bedford enough.

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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Cultivating Grace

I am fortunate that I get offered the opportunity to review lots of books and decks. If you’re part of my Patreon, you’ve seen my reasoning behind some of the items I’ve chosen to review. When I was offered a copy of the deck “Cultivating Grace: Access Inner Peace, Clarity, and Joy on Your Spiritual Path” by Miranda Macpherson I accepted, and I could not tell you why. It didn’t look awful, but it also didn’t seem like something I would enjoy, and yet, I wanted to review it. I’m glad I did.

“Cultivating Grace” is a remarkably well-thought-out deck for self-reflection and discovery. The 64-card deck is divided into 4 categories of cards: Grounding in Grace, Receiving Blessings of Grace, Transforming Power of Grace, and Embodying Grace. Macpherson considers grace a nondenominational direct experience of the Divine, a felt experience of the Sacred, that is the practical key to gaining traction on your spiritual path and finding true fulfillment.

Each card features beautiful art by Anna Kuptsova and ideas to reflect on and practice. Macpherson’s appreciation of classic spiritual thought is obvious when reading the accompanying guidebook, and unlike some decks I highly recommend reading the guidebook as it offers much more than just card descriptions. Also, I just need to mention, you get the beautiful 64-card deck, which comes in a lovely fabric bag and a full-color 176-page guidebook, all in a compact, sturdy box for the suggested retail price of $18.99. That’s just shockingly reasonable.

“Cultivating Grace” by Miranda Macpherson is scheduled to come out in September, but you can preorder it now.

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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The Other Side of Nothing

It is no secret that I love Brad Warner. I think I have all his books, some I purchased myself, and some I received from publishers to review. And since it is no secret, New World Library was kind enough to ask me if I wanted a copy of his latest book “The Other Side of Nothing: The Zen Ethics of Time, Space, and Being” to review, and of course I said yes. In the pie chart that makes up “Rebecca’s Personal Spiritual Practice”, Brad Warner and Zen Buddhism take up a considerable wedge.

Anyone who has read anything about Zen Buddhism knows that Zen is stupidly simple, and infuriatingly complex. Thus, why should I be surprised that the ethics of Zen are extremely straightforward, and mind-warpingly complicated. Warner takes up the daunting challenge of tackling the subject with his usual brand of traditionalism cut with ample references to “Ancient Aliens”, giant Japanese fighting monsters, and now including stories about his dog Ziggy Pup (who is adorable and has his own Instagram).

A book about Zen ethics could have been summed up with, “Don’t Be a Dick” or “Don’t Be a Jerk” (which is the title of one of Warner’s earlier books). See? Easy! Obviously, it’s more involved than that. You get to condensed “Don’t Be a Dick” by learning the Four Noble Truths and following the Noble Eightfold Path. “The Other Side of Nothing” does an excellent job discussing those topics in depth, and that’s where things get complicated. Zen ethics exist the way they do because of the unique perspective Zen masters had of everything, and nothing, and space, and the mind, and no-mind, and I think you may be starting to grasp how things get mind-warpy. Add into that the difference a translation can make. A difference that Warner highlights throughout by comparing the way different modern day and past Zen groups interpret the same sentence.

“The Other Side of Nothing” by Brad Warner is the book I personally have been waiting for since reading “Sit Down and Shut Up” years ago. It is one thing to grasp how to practice Zen, but “The Other Side of Nothing” shows you how you live Zen. And as with all things Zen, it is a complicatedly simple way to live.

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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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.)

Do you enjoy The Magical Buffet? Considering supporting The Magical Buffet on Patreon! For only $5 a month you’ll receive monthly tarot/oracle forecasts, classes, and behind the scenes updates! Https://www.patreon.com/magicalbuffet

Joy

Seven years ago, new age musicians Paul Avgerinos and Kevin Braheny Fortune won a Grammy for their album “Grace.” An album, that I would like to point out, I gave a positive review at the time. I was happy to learn that Avgerinos and Fortune have worked together to release a new album that feels like the spiritual successor to “Grace”, “Joy.”

Interestingly, the titles of the tracks form a poem that is supposed to express the true nature of real joy.

Joy Is

Subtle
Content
Innocence

Rising
Simplicity
Childlike
Tranquility

Serene
Rivers of Light
Ascending

Maybe it’s because I listened to it while at work, but “Joy” had me wistfully watching the birds through my office window. Whereas the last album I reviewed, David Arkenstone’s “Music Inspired by Middle Earth Volume II” had my pulse quicken with a sense of adventure, Avgerinos’ “Joy” seemed to say, “Slow down. Take in the moment.”

“Joy” would be wonderful way to ease into your morning or with which to reflect on your day. If you’re interested, check out the video below.

You can learn more here.

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Tarot for Real Life

How does he do it? Seriously, how does Jack Chanek pull it off? You may remember how much I adored his previous book, “Qabalah for Wiccans”, which in all honesty should have been titled “Qabalah for Everyone” because it was the first book on Qabalah that really clicked for me, and would work for anyone, Wiccan or otherwise. Well, he back with “Tarot for Real Life: Use the Cards to Find Answers to Everyday Questions,” and yes, he did it again.

Now, when it comes to tarot, I know a thing or two. Not to toot my own horn, but I do some halfway decent monthly single card tarot forecasts on my Patreon. Yet, there is no denying that Chanek’s ability to breakdown complex systems and present them in an accessible order is perfect for tarot. Much like when reading “Qabalah for Wiccans,” I found myself giddy with excitement in achieving better understanding. And with the book’s emphasis on real life applications, “Tarot for Real Life” really IS tarot for real life!

“Tarot for Real Life” by Jack Chanek is an absolute must for anyone starting on the path of tarot reading, but I think even an experienced tarot reader can find something to take away from this book.

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.)

Do you enjoy The Magical Buffet? Considering supporting The Magical Buffet on Patreon! For only $5 a month you’ll receive monthly tarot/oracle forecasts, classes, and behind the scenes updates! Https://www.patreon.com/magicalbuffet