The Peaceful Protectors

I haven’t heard a lot about coloring books lately. Remember when the marketplace seemed to be flooded with them? Personally, I was sad to see the trend die down. Coloring is a wonderful creative outlet for people like me that love visual arts and are not good at creating them. Which is a polite way to say I can’t draw, okay?

It’s why I was delighted when a publicist reached out to me about “The Peaceful Protectors: Coloring Collection” by Real Weng. She is a freelance artist originally from Taiwan and she has created a beautiful coloring book based on Asian mythology. “The Peaceful Protectors” is 64 pages and features 15 mythical characters turned into 30 floral integrated unique coloring pages and an additional introduction page of the specific character with each image hand drawn by Real Weng.

The artwork is beautiful, and more importantly, done in a way conducive to an enjoyable coloring experience. Hopefully, you’ve never experienced the annoyance of a coloring book that doesn’t accommodate for a person trying to color in the picture. I have, it sucks.

There is no denying that this would be a fantastic holiday gift. You can learn more here.

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31 Subway Drawings

I already wrote my love letter to Keith Haring when I reviewed “Haring-isms” edited by Larry Warsh back in 2020, so I won’t rehash it here. Let’s just say Haring and his art has a special place in my heart. It’s all why I was thrilled when Princeton University Press reached out to me again with a Keith Haring book.

“Keith Haring: 31 Subway Drawings” features a handful (31 to be exact) of examples of Haring’s prolific New York subway graffiti era. The contributions of several authors (Jeffrey Deitch, Henry Geldzahler, Carlo McCormick, and Larry Warsh), including a reprinting of “The Subway is Still My Favorite Place to Draw” by Keith Haring that originally appeared in “Art in Transit: Subway Drawings”, “31 Subway Drawings” re-examines this important era in Haring’s art and public art of the era in general.

Thanks to Larry Warsh’s efforts to collect Haring’s subway chalk drawings (an act he knew Haring wasn’t necessarily a fan of) and photographer Tseng Kwong Chi’s work photographing Haring and his subway art out in the wild, “31 Subway Drawings” does an excellent job showcasing the work.

Here you can see the fruits of Warsh’s and Chi’s labors.


“Keith Haring: 31 Subway Drawings” is sure to be treasured by fans of Haring and the subway graffiti movement of the 1980s. 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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Favorite Things 2021

It is here again. That magical time of the year where I pretend Oprah and I are somehow on the same level and rivals by doing my annual “Favorite Things” list. As always, my list is superior to hers in every way.

If this is your first time here, “Welcome, where the hell have you been?” Also, you should know that I pick my top 10 favorite things that were featured on The Magical Buffet website since the previous year’s list was published. Every year it is a nerve-wracking task, but I always love bringing attention to some of the best stuff out there early enough in the gift giving season that you can do some shopping based off of my recommendations. So now, presented in no particular order, are my 10 “Favorite Things” for 2021.

1. The Art of the Occult: A Visual Sourcebook for the Modern Mystic by S. Elizabeth
With over 175 full color reproductions of art from the 15th century and earlier right up to modern times, this is an eye-opening look at the relationship between art, artist, and the occult.
You can read my original review here.

2. Witch Hunt: A Traveler’s Guide to the Power & Persecution of the Witch by Kristen J. Sollée
A wonderfully feminist, witch-ocentric travelogue.
You can read my original review here.

3. Dark Goddess Tarot by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince
This is the first of two tarot decks to make this year’s list. Both celebrate the divine feminine, I guess I have a type.
You can read my original review here.

4. The Divine Feminine Tao Te Ching by Rosemarie Anderson
2021 was the year I found my preferred translation of the Tao.
You can read my original review here.

5. The Ancestral Power of Amulets, Talismans, and Mascots: Folk Magic in Witchcraft and Religion by Nigel Pennick
I was already a Pennick fan, however as a person who makes talismans this book was destined to be a favorite.
You can read my original review here.

6. New World Witchery: A Trove of North American Folk Magic by Cory Thomas Hutcheson
Is this the North American Claude Lecouteux we’ve been waiting for? Or at least I’VE been waiting for? By all indications, yes!
You can read my original review here.

7. Iconic Tarot Decks: The History, Symbolism and Design of over 50 Decks by Sarah Bartlett
The next best thing to playing with tarot cards is reading about tarot cards.
You can read my original review here.

8. Mysteries of the Werewolf: Shapeshifting, Magic & Protection by Claude Lecouteux
Just when you thought you knew everything about werewolves, Lecouteux comes out with a new book.
You can read my original review here.

9. Intuitive Night Goddess Tarot by Linzi Silverman
Divine feminine tarot deck two!
You can read my original review here.

10. The Eclectic Witch’s Books of Shadows: Witchy Wisdom at Your Fingertips by Deborah Blake
It’s no secret that I love me some Deborah Blake, but trust me, this book is good.
You can read my original review here.

Inspired to take care of some shopping? For your convenience I created a Favorite Things 2021 on The Magical Buffet’s bookshop. Shopping through the bookshop not only supports The Magical Buffet, but independent bookstores throughout the United States!

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

Iconic Tarot Decks

Today we have an AMAZING book to discuss. It’s both #bookporn and #tarotporn. It is a sexy hunk of book titled, “Iconic Tarot Decks: The History, Symbolism and Design of over 50 Decks” by Sarah Bartlett.

One of the amazing, impressive, and sexy things about “Iconic Tarot Decks” is the sheer volume of full color images of tarot cards. Contrary to what you may think from the way things are on the internet, images of tarot cards, including “Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot”, are copyrighted images and not to be used on resale items without permission. I don’t know if it’s the publisher, Bartlett or both who deserve a hearty pat on the back for securing the rights to such a variety of decks, from so many different companies. But from those of us who know, thank you, it is greatly appreciated.

Although not a book about learning to use tarot cards, “Iconic Tarot Decks” opens with a basic overview of how to use tarot decks. It’s a nice, tidy guide that includes a few all-purpose spreads. Bartlett follows with a broad strokes history of tarot cards and decks, exploring the most academically accepted origins of the cards. However, “Iconic Tarot Decks” isn’t about generalized tarot history, but about specific decks.

Bartlett discusses 50 different tarot decks. How did she settle on these 50? I wouldn’t even know how to decide which decks to profile! Is it just me, or would you like to know too? She divides the decks into five categories: influential decks, beginner’s divination decks, art and collector’s decks, esoteric and occult decks, and contemporary decks. Each deck features its unique history as well as where it fits in with regards to the history of tarot. You learn about the art, design, inspiration, and more. And of course, plenty of full-color examples of the cards!

“Iconic Tarot Decks” by Sarah Bartlett is a beautiful artbook meets tarot history. An interesting resource for those who love tarot, and just as wonderful as a coffee table artbook. I sincerely hope to see more books like this!

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.

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

The Ancestral Power of Amulets, Talismans, and Mascots

It’s safe to say that I’ve become a Nigel Pennick fan. You may remember I reviewed his books “Witchcraft & Secret Societies of Rural England: The Magic of Toadmen, Plough Witches, Mummers, and Bonesmen” and “Operative Witchcraft: Spellwork & Herbcraft in the British Isles”. His latest book, “The Ancestral Power of Amulets, Talismans, and Mascots: Folk Magic in Witchcraft and Religion” is destined to be my favorite.

“Things worn around the neck as pendants or carried somewhere on the person are generally amulets. The belief that certain objects, natural or artificial, composed of metals, stone, clay, or other materials sometimes possess occult powers capable of protecting those who carry them from danger, disease, or evil influences,” writes Pennick, “The word talisman has the meaning of objects bearing sigils, seals, or magical or religious texts that have been empowered by consecration or ritual. Like amulets, their function is to protect the person from evil, illness, and bodily harm.”

This is of particular interest to me because if you didn’t know, I make talismans. (SHAMELESS PLUG: Visit my store! Buy my stuff!) “The Ancestral Power of Amulets, Talismans, and Mascots” opened my eyes to all the ways people of different cultures and eras created and utilized amulets, charms, and mascots. As always, religion played a heavy hand in their evolution, but so has community tradition. Pennick has an impressive personal collection of these items and thankfully shared much of it as photos in the book. So many wonderful photos and illustrations!

I’m not going to say that “The Ancestral Power of Amulets, Talismans, and Mascots” by Nigel Pennick is for everyone, but if you ever found yourself curious about some of the symbols you see people wearing or adorning their homes with, this is absolutely the perfect book for you.

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.

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

The Art of the Occult

Since the beginning of time art has been used to convey everything from simple human emotion to historic events. With that in mind, it should surprise no one that art has been a medium to illustrate magical practices for just as long. Anyone interested in witchcraft and/or the occult is sure to have seen the iconic witch-centric art of John William Waterhouse or classic alchemical illustrations.

In walks “The Art of the Occult” by S. Elizabeth, a wonderful book for art and magic lovers. By no means a complete overview of all art influenced by the occult, “The Art of the Occult” has over 175 full color reproductions of art from the 15th century and earlier right up to modern times. Each work is accompanied with insightful commentary.

Each individual finds different art appeals to them, just the way each person finds a specific magical style that suits them. I guarantee no matter who you are, you will find something in this book for you.

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.

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

Krampus is Here!

“I can’t go back to sharing Christmas with that soul-singing goat. Always nibbling on my list,” Santa, “American Dad” episode “Minstrel Krampus”

Like all great folklore figures, the origins of Krampus are murky at best. In European history Krampus is portrayed as a half demon, half goat figure that worked in tandem with Saint Nicholas. These days Santa rewards good children with gifts and leaves coal for naughty children. However, back in the day, Saint Nicholas would reward good children and Krampus would punish naughty children by frightening them with rattling chains and swatting them with birch branches.

In the “American Dad” television episode “Minstrel Krampus” they make a compelling argument that in this modern era Krampus is a good guy, and that Santa is a bad guy. Santa spoils children by doing nothing but giving gifts, whereas Krampus loves children enough to punish them when they are bad. Obviously, it is not a perfect argument, but it always stuck with me that perhaps people are a bit too quick to judge Krampus.

Which leads us to this:


I fell in love with this vintage image of Krampus and Saint Nicholas. They look like perfect frenemies. And I decided to do a limited-edition line of merchandise featuring this picture! What kind of things can you buy?


How about buttons, greeting cards, mugs, and more? Prices range from $2.50 for a button up to $41.99 for a hoodie. You can find them all, along with our core merchandise at https://www.cafepress.com/themagicalbuffet.


Shop now, because come December 31, 2020 all this great Krampus merchandise will be gone forever!

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

Byzantine Intersectionality

Today we are talking about an academic work exploring the Byzantine empire that is an accessible read and incredibly relevant for today. “Byzantine Intersectionality: Sexuality, Gender, & Race in the Middle Ages” by Roland Betancourt is an eye-opening, thought provoking work.

Intersectionality is “the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.” (Oxford Dictionary) It was coined in 1989, but obviously marginalized identities existed before then.

Betancourt utilizes literature, religious texts, and art to examine lives of transgendered monks, sexual consent and the Virgin Mary, slut shaming of society women, race around the Ethiopian Eunuch, and same sex desire in the lives of monks and the story of Doubting Thomas. Medical texts of the time show that late term abortions and sex affirming surgeries were part of the era.

Honestly, this review is not doing the book justice. “Byzantine Intersectionality” by Roland Betancourt is a riveting read that made me view the past differently, and in turn, think more deliberately about our future. I think everyone should read 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.

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

Haring-isms

What is it about Keith Haring’s art that I have always loved? He was hitting his peak as an artist/street artist in the 70’s/early 80’s, so perhaps it is because, being born in 1976, his art was my introduction to graffiti as art. His designs were cartoonish, in bold colors, simplistic to the average person, and filled with motion. Haring’s work was not only accessible as art, but accessible by being licensed for TONS of products. Cynics could say he was “selling out”, but he believed in the democratization of art, frequently giving away free doodles to fans. Haring’s death in 1990 of AIDS-related illness is an important milestone in my life. His passing, along with Ryan White, turned me into an activist at a young age, constantly following the research and injustice of the early AIDS crisis. (FYI, this is just things I personally remember, not from any official source.)

This should explain why when Princeton University Press reached out to me with regards to reviewing a book about Keith Haring, I didn’t care what it was, I just wanted it! (Also, Princeton University Press, who’s the scholarly blogger?) The book they sent me (which I did know what it was going to be) was “Haring-isms” edited by Larry Warsh. It is part of Princeton’s “ISM” series, where they try to capture the essence of a variety of artists by collecting their quotations into high quality, pocket-sized, hardcover books. Along with “Haring-isms” you can find “Arsham-isms”, “Basquiat-isms”, “Weiwei-isms”, and more.

Editor Larry Warsh writes a personal and informative introduction to “Haring-isms.” After that, it is quote after wonderful quote. Here a just a few of my favorites:

It was a long time before I was successful – or wanted to be. All I ever wanted, and what I want now, is to draw, draw, draw.

I was never good at quite defining what is and what is not art. I mean, eventually everything can be art if we see it like art.

I think if people make art that is in tune with popular culture and comes from popular culture, they should put it back into that culture.

If I was going to draw, there had to be a reason. That reason, I decided, was for people.

Part of the reason that I’m not having trouble with the reality of death is that it’s not a limitation, in a way. It could have happened any time, and it is going to happen sometime. If you live your life according to that, death is irrelevant. Everything I’m doing right now is exactly what I want to do.

Each quote has a number so you can reference its source in the back of the book.

Obviously, I love “Haring-isms”. The only drawback is, other than the icon on the cover, none of Haring’s art is featured in it. I would easily pay twice the price to have these quotes along side images of some of his artwork. However, the lack of art keeps the book at a reasonable price point considering its high-quality formatting. If you’ve ever been inspired by Keith Haring, “Haring-isms” is for you.

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.

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

Docu-mania!

Have you been spending more time at home? Well, you should be, there IS a pandemic going on after all. I should be using this time to accomplish loads of things, but honestly, I’m not. Sure, some people are learning new skills, or getting shape, but there is nothing wrong with just maintaining. That’s pretty much what I do…. maintain.

An odd, but welcome development is that I have been all about watching documentaries. In a world of limitless new entertainment content, for some reason I have settled on this. I have been watching loads of them, from various streaming services. In case you have been looking for a diversion from your usual entertainment I thought I would highlight the tons of documentaries I have been watching.

Remastered: Devil at the Crossroad (Netflix)
Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil to become the greatest bluesmen to ever live. This fantastic documentary dives into the life, death, and legend of Robert Johnson, who was one of the greatest bluesmen to ever live.

Kathy Griffin: A Hell of Story (Amazon Prime)
I have ALWAYS loved Kathy Griffin, and this “docu-comedy” just makes me love her even more. Follow the fallout from the publication of the infamous photograph of her holding Trump’s severed head and into her comeback. All of it culminates with a fantastic stand up special that is not to be missed!

Bill Nye: Science Guy (Netflix)
An intriguing look behind the scenes of Bill Nye’s life. It covers his roots as the “Science Guy” to his strong second act of becoming the public face of science in the climate change debate. What’s nice about this documentary is that it shows Nye as a human being, prone to ego and fear as well as a kind-hearted proponent of science.

Tickled (Hulu)
This documentary begins with the directors attempting to make a film about the world of “competitive endurance tickling”. Believe it or not, it gets jaw droppingly weirder from there. Welcome to the unintentional conspiracy film you never knew you needed.

The Brink (Hulu)
This film follows Steve Bannon from getting booted from Donald Trump’s administration through his attempt to create an international super group of nationalist world leaders, and the United States mid-term elections. It is presented judgement free, but trust me, you will judge him.

Get Me Roger Stone (Netflix)
Some people love to be the villain, and Roger Stone is one of them. This neutrally presented documentary will leave your jaw on the ground…. or else you might not have a soul.

Struggle: The Life and Lost Art of Szukalski (Netflix)
A genius sculptor, the underground comix scene, Nazis, redemption, the nature of language, and more are to be found in this riveting documentary. Hands down an amazing story. It is hard to encapsulate, you will just need to trust me when I say, watch it.

Have you seen any of these? If you have, or watch some of them, leave me on comment on The Magical Buffet’s social media letting me know what you though!

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