Magical Symbols and Alphabets

I’m 99% sure that I’ve stated this repeatedly on my site, and on social media, and in interviews, and I may have grabbed random people on the street to share this, but when it comes to compilation style books (encyclopedia, complete book of, compendium) there are two people I adore for it: Judika Illes and Sandra Kynes. And although it isn’t titled as an encyclopedia or compendium, there was no way I was not going to review “Magical Symbols and Alphabets: A Practitioner’s Guide to Spells, Rites, and History” by Sandra Kynes.

“Magical Symbols and Alphabets” is truth in advertising. This 260ish page book is PACKED, just stuffed, with information. Kynes doesn’t just tell you what a symbol or letter stands for, she puts it into context by providing histories and purpose. She does not just give you the tool, she tells you why it may be right tool for the task. “Magical Symbols and Alphabets” has 6 parts: Astrological Symbols, The Elements, The Fifteen Fixed Stars, The Ogham, The Runes, Sigils, and The Witches’ Alphabet and Other Magical Scripts. It’s everything you could want.

Let me be blunt, if you’re interested in magic, you need this reference book. It won’t be a treasured keepsake; it will be an invaluable resource that you will turn to again and again for as long as it holds together.

You can learn more here.

Want a shot at winning your own copy? Well, thanks to Sandra Kynes you have that chance! She was generous enough to provide a signed copy of “Magical Symbols and Alphabets” for my readers! Just use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter! The contest is open now until 11:59PM Eastern on 05/29/2020! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

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/

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

Operative Witchcraft

If you read Nigel Pennick’s “Witchcraft and Secret Societies of Rural England” and found yourself wanting more, look no further, Pennick has got you covered. His latest book, “Operative Witchcraft: Spellwork & Herbcraft in the British Isles” is an excellent follow up or stand-alone title.

Here, buried in traditions of rural tradespeople, you’ll find the roots of magic and witchcraft as it’s practiced today. Pennick outlines in detail not just what the magic was, but why it was believed to work. “Operative Witchcraft” covers a lot of magical ground in its approximately 200 pages: the crafting of talismans, animal magic, identifying places of power, creating tools, herbal treatments, and more! He discusses the belief of the different types of witches: White, Black, and Gray. Eventually, he leads us to an exploration of what happened when these rural practices butted up against the Church.

If you want a well written, thoroughly researched look at witchcraft’s past and possible future, get yourself a copy of “Operative Witchcraft”.

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.

Laurie Cabot’s Book of Visions

Thank goodness for Copper Cauldron Publishing. Why? Many reasons, but in particular because of their work with Laurie Cabot. Do I need to tell you why Laurie Cabot is important? Probably not, but just in case, let me take a moment. She is probably best known as the Official Witch of Salem, Massachusetts. Cabot helped develop Salem, MA into the witchy epicenter that it is today. She has taught her Art and Science of Witchcraft for decades. In the realm of Witchcraft, she is an elder stateswoman, and in my opinion, a bad ass.

And thankfully Cabot has partnered up with Penny Cabot, Christopher Penczak, and Copper Cauldron Publishing to preserve her knowledge for future students of Witchcraft. Thus far Copper Cauldron has released “Laurie Cabot’s Book of Shadows”, “Laurie Cabot’s Book of Spells & Enchantments”, and most recently, “Laurie Cabot’s Book of Visions: A Collection of Meditations”.

Let’s talk about truth in advertising! This “Collection of Meditations” is loaded with just that, meditations. As someone who practices a Zen Buddhist style of meditation, I can assure you that there loads of different types of meditation. Cabot carefully outlines her Art of Science of Witchcraft theory of meditation. Once you’re comfortable with meditation the book goes on to outline all the ways you can use it: accessing healing, animal spirits, faerie realms, deities, and more.

“Laurie Cabot’s Book of Visions” is a truly unique offering in the meditation and magical book spaces, worth every penny.

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.

The Magick of Food

If you follow my personal social media accounts, you know I LOVE food. My pot belly and high cholesterol also attest to this fact, but that’s beside the point. You know who else truly loves food? Gwion Raven. I was fortunate enough to be given an uncorrected proof of his new book “The Magick of Food: Rituals, Offerings, and Why We Eat Together” and I was simply blown away.

The first section of the book is “A Brief and Incomplete History of Food and Ritual”. For being “incomplete”, Raven starts with a small exploration of what our primitive, cave dwelling ancestors perhaps ate and what it meant to them. What flows from that starting point is an engaging history lesson on the evolution of food, faith, and where the two intersected. We visit the food, gods, recipes, and rituals of the Middle East, Greece, Rome, and what the author refers to as “A Dark Age of Cuisine” (Britain).

The second section is “Food, Magic, and Rituals for Today”. Raven explores what he considers five basic principles for food magic:
1. All food is sacred.
2. Eat what you need.
3. Share what you can.
4. Express gratitude.
5. Pass the knowledge along.
The author explores the magic to be found in a cup of tea or dinner out in a restaurant. From this point he discusses the connection between food and arousal, healing, grief, community, and the Kitchen Witch. This section if filled with magical ideas, spells, rituals, and my favorite, recipes!

The third section of the book is “All the Recipes”! Here you find ways to make everyday “mundane” recipes magical, cocktails (yes!), mocktails (alcohol free beverages), and magical libations. Rounding out the section is “Food Magick for Special Occasions”. In a book full of tempting recipes, here is where you will find some truly stand out feasts: “Goat for a God” (which I really want to try), “In Praise of Inanna”, “Demeter’s Vegetarian Feast”, and “Boar for Bacchus”. Raven also includes “A Year of Food Magick”, offering recipes for Pagan celebrations, and little more love in the form of “Four Ridiculously Good Aphrodisiacs”.

Being a food lover, I find it hard to imagine a person who wouldn’t be interested in “The Magick of Food”. It’s well-written, entertaining, informative, and loaded with recipes! What more could you want?

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.

Favorite Things 2019

It’s that time again folks! That time when I look back at a year of articles and remind you about the best of the best things I wrote about this year. Looking at the list you’ll realize that not every item came out in 2019. My favorite things list is a recap of what I read or used in 2019, not necessarily a thing that released in 2019. So why now? Why not the end of December, or the beginning of January? Because I like to share my favorites while you still have time to buy them as gifts for people, or yourself.

And speaking of shopping, this year I’m including purchasing links (when I can) for IndieBound. IndieBound 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. I encourage you to shop local, independent bookstores when you can. If you can’t, I ask you to consider IndieBound.

Now, with no further ado, and presented in particular order…..

FAVORITE THINGS 2019

The Little Book of Cat Magic: Spells, Charms, and Tales by Deborah Blake
It’s hard not to be enchanted by this little book of cats. It’s written by Deborah Blake, a crazy cat lady in the best of ways. The book is filled with delightful kitty-centric illustrations. “The Little Book of Cat Magic” is great for anyone who loves cats.

You can read my original review here.

You Can Buy Me Here

Magical Dogs Tarot by Daniel Mueller and Mickie Mueller
From cats, to dogs. It’s hard not to love dogs, and thusly, it’s hard not to love “Magical Dogs Tarot”. Mickie Mueller is a fantastic artist, and her dogs are endearing and whimsical. Daniel Mueller wrote a wonderful companion book, thoughtfully capturing the spirit of canines and merging it with tarot. A great addition to any tarot collection, and obviously it’s fantastic for dog lovers.

You can read my original review here.

Crystals: A Guide to Using the Crystal Compass for Energy, Healing, and Reclaiming Your Power by Aisha Amarfio
This book is ALL about its Crystal Compass. Sure, Amarfio provides loads of information about crystals: uses, care of, properties, etc. However, what sets “Crystals” apart is the super convenient chart she created to go with the book. This colorful graph, aka, Crystal Compass, is an easy to use guide to incorporating crystals into all kinds of work. In a year that saw many great books on crystals, Amarfio’s creation of the Crystal Compass made her book a favorite of this past year.

You can read my original review here.

You Can Buy Me Here

Witchcraft Activism: A Toolkit for Magical Resistance by David Salisbury
Written by a long-time activist, David Salisbury does a wonderful job of inspiring the reader to take action, mundane and/or magical. If you want to take action, this is the book to read.

You can read my original review here.

You Can Buy Me Here

Witchbody by Sabrina Scott
This year saw SO MANY fantastic releases. However, there was no other book like “Witchbody”. Scott created a graphic novel, filled with fantastic art that explores ecology, magic, spirituality, and more. It’s a journey unlike any other you’ll ever take with a book. In my opinion, “Witchbody” is a classic.

You can read my original review here.

You Can Buy Me Here

One Truth and One Spirit: Aleister Crowley’s Spiritual Legacy by Keith Readdy
An amazing work exploring Crowley’s Thelema legacy following his death. Thelema’s fractures, power struggles, and ultimately, its staying power makes “One Truth and One Spirit” a worthwhile endeavor.

You can read my original review here
.
You Can Buy Me Here

The Ark Animal Tarot & Oracle Deck by Bernadette King
Some of you may remember that back in April I backed, and promoted, a Kickstarter for this deck. Well, now it is out and I have my copy. It is just as good, if not better, than promised. A beautiful, sturdy box with a magnetic closer. Gorgeous, full color cards. It’s designed to be used as a traditional tarot deck and/or oracle!

You can read my original post about it here.

Witchcraft & Secret Societies of Rural England: The Magic of Toadmen, Plough Witches, Mummers, and Bonesmen by Nigel Pennick
Pennick has created a book that is a highly readable blend of scholarly work and fantastical folklore. Trade unions that operate as secret societies is a trend that might be cool to bring back.

Read my original review here.

You Can Buy Me Here

The Sacred Herbs of Samhain: Plants to Contact the Spirits of the Dead by Ellen Evert Hopman
I feel like this from my original review says it all, “And no one tells a plant’s story better than Ellen Evert Hopman.”

Read my original review here.

You Can Buy Me Here

Letters to a Dead Friend about Zen by Brad Warner
Brad Warner does Buddhism 101. Need I say more?

Read my original review here.

You Can Buy Me Here

Since this is my favorite things, but also a shopping list, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that The Magical Buffet has a bunch of fun merchandise, as well as a vintage witch collection of merchandise for sale now! The witchy collection goes away December 31, 2019.

Shop The Magical Buffet store here!