Cosmic Botany

You feeling the cabin fever? Looking for a household refresh? Need a gift for a plant and/or crystal lover? I have the book for you, “Crystal Botany: A Guide to Crystal and Plant Soul Mates for Peace, Happiness, and Abundance” by Tanya Lichtenstein.

This is just the most charming book you could ever hope to see. Lichtenstein takes plants and their properties and pairs them with their crystal soulmates to create a “vibe”. Her book is divided into 4 parts: Fractals of Love, You’ve Got This, No Bad Days, and The Plant & Crystal Diet. Within them you’ll find pairings like “I Feel Pretty” (pink opal and a hibiscus plant), “Your Daily Podcast” (emerald quartz and a jade plant), “Bloom Where You Are” (rose quartz and a sweetheart hoya), and “Supercharged You” (rainbow aura quartz and a monstera). I’ve spent a lot of time Googling plants after reading this book!

Better still, Lichtenstein is a gifted artist and her book is full of her illustrations. The whole thing is very much in the whole white on white Instagram vein, but cuter (if that makes sense). “Cosmic Botany” is an inspired book with equally inspirational artwork.


You can learn more here.

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The Art of Kipper Reading

What the heck is Kipper? I had never heard of it until I was offered the opportunity to “The Art of Kipper Reading: Decoding Powerful Messages” by Alexandre Musruck and its accompanying oracle deck.

So, what is it? According to Musruck, “In 1890, in Germany, appeared the ‘Kipper Fortune-Telling Cards’, a deck that clearly reflects the founding period, an era in which Germany was in the economic boom. The illustration clearly shows that the deck is from Bavaria, a state in the southeast of Germany. The deck, like Lenormand, bears the name of famous fortune teller Madame Susanne Kipper, but here again there is no evidence that it was created by her or simply a marketing strategy. In 1920, the publishing rights went to the company FX Schmid and in 1996 on to the Altenburger Spielkartenfabrik.”

The art is delightful, depicting all kinds of situations, emotions, and events. And what’s truly interesting it that the cards are read by direction, like an actual story! In many ways, this makes the Kipper more intuitive right out of the box, on the other hand, the accompanying book is VERY thick because each card has a different interpretation depending on what cards around it. There are 3 card readings, 5 card readings, 9 card readings, and most impressively, the Grand Tableau which utilizes the entire deck of 36 cards.

Alexandre Musruck did an excellent job of introducing me to the divination method of Kipper. He, with Red Feather Mind, Body, Spirit packaged up a beautiful deck, and he wrote an easy to comprehend accompanying book. If you want to learn about Kipper, you’ll want to check this out!

You can learn more here. Deck.

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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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Moon Spell Magic

Sometimes you hit the jackpot. That’s what happened when Mango Publishing reached out to me about reviewing some of their books. They made a few suggestions and I said, “I’ll check out that Cerridwen Greenleaf book.” What shows up in the mail? THREE different books by the author! Crazy generous gesture, right? However, I do have a GIANT backlog of books waiting to be read for the site, and I’m already slow at producing my content. I realized as much as I would like to, I just didn’t have time to read all three books. So, I did an informal survey on The Magical Buffet’s social media as to what book I should read, the top pick was “Moon Spell Magic: Invocations, Incantations & Lunar Lore for a Happy Life.” (For those who were curious, second place went to “The Magic of Crystals & Gems”, and “Moon Spell Magic for Love” came in last.)

“Moon Spell Magic” is a delightful read. In many ways, it reminds me of some the first books about magic I read. Not heavy on rules, or strict on traditions, just pages and pages of spells. At first glance I assumed that everything magical in the book would somehow be connected to the moon, but that’s not the case at all. Greenleaf has compiled a range of magical activities addressing a variety of conditions, and then added a layer of how to use lunar phases and timing to get the most of the work on top. This makes “Moon Spell Magic” a wonderful resource for spells anyone, but an even greater resource for those who like doing their magical work after the sun sets.

There are spells and rituals for solitary practitioners as well as groups, including ideas for celebrating holidays. There is a section devoted to deities, their connections to the moon, and their spiritual correspondences. “Moon Spell Magic” has everything a beginner would be interested in, with enough variety that experienced practitioners would also find some new ideas.

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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In the Garden

Throughout the years I’ve reviewed many books about plants; herbalism, growing them, trees, culinary herbs, and many more perspectives. However, recently I was approached about the opportunity to review a book about plants written from a unique perspective, the Bible. “In the Garden: An Illustrated Guide to the Plants of the Bible” discusses trees and shrubs, edible plants, medicinal and aromatic plants, and flowers from the Old Testaments and New Testaments.

Why the Bible? As it’s pointed out in the introduction, “The Bible is full of metaphors that come from plant life: sowing, pruning, tending, reaping, and storing; seeds, stalks, fruit, chaff, and leaves.” That, “A study of the plants in the Bible also gives us an appreciation for the scope of the narrative of God’s people in Scripture,” and that, “a careful study of the meaning of words in the Bible brings our imaginations into worship of our King.”

So, you don’t practice a Judeo-Christian religion. Why bother with this book? Because it gives us, particularly those of us who love nature but aren’t knowledgeable in Scripture a new perspective to many plants. Each plant outlined in the book has a corresponding piece of Scripture and history of the plant. At the end, there’s even some ideas for growing your own Biblically inspired garden!

“In the Garden” is 128 pages of beautiful full-color illustrations by Becky Speer in a slim hardcover format. This would make a lovely coffee table book and an excellent gift for anyone who is intrigued by plants.

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.

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Gita: A Timeless Guide for Our Time

You know what’s great about Hindu texts? Hinduism doesn’t discourage translation and retellings. For years I struggled with the Ramayana, but then I found a very cinematic retelling, and now it’s one of my favorite religious texts. I’ve had the same problem with Bhagavad Gita. I never could engage with it, despite it being part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. So, when a publicist reached out to me about reviewing a new translation and interpretation of the Gita, I jumped at the chance.

What I received was “Gita: A Timeless Guide for Our Time” translated by Isaac Bentwich M.D.

This Gita translation was a passion project for Bentwich, who devoted 12 years to creating an accessible version of the 700 verse Sanskrit scripture. Firstly, he obviously translated the text to English. Moreover, he worked to create and keep a rhyming scheme to keep with the poetic nature of the source material. Also, each chapter features a short introduction from Bentwich where he shares his thoughts on the message of the text.

The Gita, including Bentwich’s version, is narrative told as a conversation between Prince Arjuna and his charioteer Krishna. Throughout their talks we learn about dharma, karma, and basically, the heart of Hindu spirituality. Bentwich’s “Gita: A Timeless Guide for Our Time” is the PERFECT Gita for beginners, with enough work put into it to make the first, and last copy of the text you’ll ever need.

If you’ve a minute and a half to spare, here’s a nice video about it.

You can learn more here.

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If you’re interested, here is an affiliate link to my favorite version of the Ramayana! Shop your local indie bookstore

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Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Ceremonial Magick

Llewellyn just dropped an EPIC book, “Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Ceremonial Magick: A Comprehensive Guide to the Western Mystery Tradition,” edited by Lon Milo DuQuette and David Shoemaker. DuQuette is a well-known author and public speaker on the topics of Aleister Crowley and Qabalah. He’s the United States Deputy Grand Master General for Crowley’s magical order Ordo Templi Orientis. Shoemaker is a clinical psychologist, the Chancellor and Prolocutor of the Temple of the Silver Star, and a senior initiate of Ordo Templi Orientis and AA. What I’m getting at is, I feel the task of vetting and compiling this book was put in the right hands. They found 11 authors to write basically 11 books and then Llewellyn put it all together into a massive 528-page book (available in trade paperback or hardcover).

So, what “books” does this book have?
Book One: Foundations of Western Magic by Sam Webster
Book Two: Qabalah by Anita Kraft and Randall Bowyer
Book Three: Planetary Magic by David Rankine
Book Four: Alchemy by Dennis William Hauck
Book Five: Demonology & Spirit Evocation by Dr. Stephen Skinner
Book Six: The Magick of Abra-Melin by Marcus Katz
Book Seven: Enochian Magick & Mysticism by Aaron Leitch
Book Eight: The Golden Dawn by Chic & Tabatha Ciecero
Book Nine: Thelema & Aleister Crowley by David Shoemaker
Book Ten: Polytheistic Ceremonial Magic by John Michael Greer
Book Eleven: Magician’s Tables by David Allen Hulse
Epilogue: The Future of Ceremonial Magick by Brandy Williams

For the purposes of context and disclosure I should tell you that the advanced readers copy I got only had the first part of each of the books. With that said, I found the quality of writing to be excellent. The spread of topics is fantastic. I couldn’t think of anything that needed to be added. This is certain to be a great reference for those interested in ceremonial magic. Overall, it’s a pretty sexy hunk of book.

You can learn more here.

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The Hermetic Science of Transformation

Today’s book was originally published in 1897, but it still has much to say today for anyone aspiring to practice magic, particularly of a Western esoteric influence. I’m alluding to “The Hermetic Science of Transformation: The Initiatic Path of Natural & Divine Magic” by Giuliano Kremmerz.

Giuliano Kremmerz was a philosopher, hermeticist, and alchemist. He outlines his desire for occult sciences to be treated as science in the quest for self-improvement. Kremmerz encourages the reader to try things themselves to decide on their effectiveness. He explores the differences in natural and divine magic.

From the introduction, “Kremmerzian teaching satisfies the two postulates required for a conscious and committed spiritual search: a system of doctrines and learned practices that leads those who are qualified for such study to a direct experience of their contents. Moreover, this pronouncement, formulated here as part of such a teaching, is submitted to being personally verified by the student.”

“The Hermetic Science of Transformation” is a beautifully written book. I constantly found myself reading sentences and thinking, I should share this. It’s extremely quotable, you know, if magical studies are your kind of thing. And if magical studies ARE your kind of thing, you need to get this book.

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.