The Druidic Art of Divination

“The Druidic Art of Divination: Understanding the Past and Seeing into the Future” by Jon G. Hughes explores something I had never pondered, how did/do Druids practice divination? Of course, once I saw this book it was the big question.

Hughes follows a pre-Celtic Druid tradition that has been passed down as an oral tradition. As such, he spends some time giving you background. He explains the three types of Druid; Craft Druid, Elemental Druid, and Intuitive Druid, which is the rarest. Hughes discusses the morality and belief system that he, and others of his tradition share. It is an interesting read, particularly since I have read a lot of books most would consider Druid-adjacent, but not focused on the whole of pre-Celtic Druid spiritual life.

All that said, a considerable part of “The Druidic Art of Divination” IS devoted to divination. Hughes opted for three different styles of divination: interpretative, inductive, and intuitive, and the progressive sequence that is common to all of them: defining the intention, physical, spiritual, and mental preparation, preparing the work environment, potentializing the portal, the meditation, interpretation, scattering the work environment, and reflection. He discusses reading the Sevens, a pre-cursor to what many would consider reading Runes. Next is scrying: water, slate, and cupstone. Hughes includes how to instructions for making your own tools and workspaces.

“The Druidic Art of Divination” by Jon G. Hughes does a great service making his pre-Celtic Druid oral tradition available to those of us who are unlikely to find someone to teach it to us in person. I highly recommend it to those interested in some new divination techniques and/or learning more about Druidism.

You can learn more here.

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10 Questions with Deborah Blake (with Giveaway)

This is an interview with Deborah Blake, author of The Goddess is in the Details, Everyday Witchcraft and numerous other books from Llewellyn, along with popular tarot and oracle decks. She’s also written the award-winning author of the Baba Yaga and Broken Rider paranormal romance series and the Veiled Magic urban fantasies from Berkley.

1. Considering the current situation, we cannot really start without me first asking, how are you doing?

I’m hanging in there. I feel very fortunate, all things considered. I live in a rural area that hasn’t been as badly hit as some, and no one I know has gotten sick. I have a nice house to hide out in and the cats for company. On the down-side, I am definitely feeling the stress, as most people are. It has made it hard to be creative. And I miss being able to hang out with my friends. Blue Moon Circle, my coven, finally got together yesterday for the solstice for the first time since February (outside, safely distancing, of course). It was lovely.

2. Your latest book is “Modern Witchcraft: Goddess Empowerment for the Kick-Ass Woman.” What made you decide to do a goddess-oriented book on witchcraft?

It just felt like the right time. So many women I know are struggling with feeling scared/worried/angry/frustrated/triggered, sometimes all at the same time. I think many of us feel helpless, no matter how hard we work for positive change. So I wanted to write a book that would help women (anyone who identifies as female in any way, really) feel empowered and heard instead.

3. “Modern Witchcraft” serves as a comprehensive introduction to witchcraft practice, which is a huge topic. How difficult was it to decide what to include?

Nearly impossible! On the one hand, I am writing for a new audience, and I’m assuming that at least a portion of them are coming to Witchcraft for the first time. On the other hand, goddesses are such a huge topic on their own, I didn’t want to spend too much time in the book talking about basic practices and tenets, instead of the focus of the book. Hopefully I managed a good balance.

4. Who are some of your favorite goddesses and why?

I often call on the goddess in a general way, rather than invoking a specific one. But I confess to a certain fondness for Hecate, who is both protective and kick-ass, and very witchy. If I have a personal deity, it is Her. I love Brigid for Her healing and creative aspects, and of course, Bast because cats are Her sacred animal.
5. Do you have any goddesses on your altar?

At the moment, I have a statue on my main altar of Brigid that was a gift from my daughter. She is standing in front of a cauldron and holding a sacred flame. On the altar in my bedroom, which is devoted to the spirits of my cats who are no longer with me, I have two very rough pottery statues of god and goddess in their more primitive, less specific forms.

6. In these times of upheaval, how can witchcraft help?

I think having a spiritual path—no matter what it is—helps to ground us during the tough times, and brings us a measure of peace we may not find in other aspects of our lives. For me, Witchcraft also allows me to connect with the gods on a daily basis and to do spellwork for protection, healing, and other issues that are so important right now.

7. In “Modern Witchcraft” you mention that you have a lot of books about goddesses. I consider myself to be a lady with a lot of books about goddesses. So exactly how many books do you have? Yes, I want to see if mine is bigger than yours. Goddess book collections, that is.

Ooh, it’s on! Let me go count… Okay, I have ten books specifically focused on goddesses, and lots more that have large sections about them. Plus, five different goddess oracles (I suspect you’ve got me beat).

FYI, I have 3 about specific goddesses, 8 about assorted goddesses, and 3 oracle decks based on goddesses.

8. You have mentioned on social media that there have been knock off copies of your tarot decks (Everyday Witch Tarot and Everyday Witch Oracle) online. How prevalent of a problem is copyright infringement in your industry?

It’s insane. Until I became an author, I had no idea how bad the problem was, and it seems to be exploding exponentially. I get alerts daily about free downloads of my books (which not only means neither the publisher nor I make any money on them, but usually the people who download them get free viruses along with their stolen books) and I’m starting to get constant emails from people complaining to me that they bought a copy of the tarot for four dollars (instead of the 25-30 it should cost) and wondering why it didn’t come with the printed guidebook, or why there are cards missing—and can I please fix it. No, no I can’t. It is incredibly discouraging to work so hard and then have that work stolen.

9. Do you have any upcoming projects you want to share with our readers?

I do! I am working on a new book with Llewellyn which will be out sometime early in 2022, I think. It is The Modern Eclectic Witch’s Book of Shadows, and I’m having a lot of fun with it. It is going to be in full color! I also have a new cozy mystery series coming out from Berkley, about a woman who buys a rundown animal rescue. It’s actually loosely based on the shelter I got my cats Diana and Harry Dresden from, and I’m planning to donate part of my sales to them when it comes out. (February 2021.) The first book is called Furbidden Fatality. There is a little black kitten in it that might remind you of someone you once knew.

10. Parting shot! Ask us here at The Magical Buffet any one question.

I always see you posting amazing pictures of the breakfasts you get at local restaurants. I’m a little jealous! Which breakfast is your favorite?

Here in Ballston Spa, NY we have A LOT of great places to eat, run by so many passionate people. There are many delicious breakfasts to be found, but the absolute BEST way we’ve been doing breakfast is ordering the Breakfast Fries from The Ribbon Café. Brace yourself, it is a pile of fries, covered in sausage gravy (using sausage that’s made in house), with bacon, ham, cheese, and topped with a fried egg. We get it to go. Then stop at Nomad Coffee and Crepes, where the owner roasts his own coffee beans. There I get their new Espresso Fizz, which is iced espresso, with elder flower tonic, orange, and orange bitters. The two go together so well, and I’m being socially responsible getting it all as take out!

About Deborah Blake:
Deborah Blake is the award-winning author of the Baba Yaga and Broken Rider paranormal romance series and the Veiled Magic urban fantasies from Berkley.

Deborah has also written The Goddess is in the Details, Everyday Witchcraft and numerous other books from Llewellyn, along with popular tarot and oracle decks. She has published articles in Llewellyn annuals, and her ongoing column, “Everyday Witchcraft” is featured in Witches & Pagans Magazine.

Deborah can be found online at Facebook, Twitter, her popular blog (Writing the Witchy Way), and www.deborahblakeauthor.com She lives in a 130 year old farmhouse in rural upstate New York with various cats who supervise all her activities, both magickal and mundane.

Fun fact, Deborah Blake LOVES doing a giveaways! So, she has agreed to send one of my readers in the United States a free copy of her new book, “Modern Witchcraft”! As usual, I’m using Rafflecopter. The giveaway is open until 07/12/2020 11:59 pm 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

The Green Witch’s Grimoire

There is a joke about grimoires in the magical community, it goes something like, “I bought this gorgeous book to be my grimoire, but it’s too beautiful to write in.” It is funny because it is just about universally true. I have multiple BEAUTIFUL blank journals that have been untouched for years because I could never write anything worthy enough for its pristine gold gilded edges. Today’s book has made me reexamine everything I thought I wanted from a grimoire.

“The Green Witch’s Grimoire: Your Complete Guide to Creating Your Own Book of Natural Magic” by Arin Murphy-Hiscock delivers. It. Is. Complete. Try as I might, and I’ve given it a LOT of thought, I cannot come up with any angle or component of grimoires that Murphy-Hiscock might have missed. The title says, “Green Witch” but let me say, unless you are a magic practitioner that actively hates nature, anyone can use this book.

The first part of “The Green Witch’s Grimoire” is a journey to try to decide what your grimoire is going to be. What kind of paper will you use? How will the pages be held together? What will you use to write in it? Will you want to carry it with you? Do you want multiple volumes? Will it have sections? Templates? An index? Do you plan on incorporating samples of natural things? Will it be decorative, functional, both? There is a dizzying number of things to consider, and I’m fairly sure Murphy-Hiscock things of every last one.

The second part of the book discusses options for how to use your grimoire: journaling, writing spells, copying important information from research, cataloging the results of divination, as a mission statement, and obviously more.

I obviously love how thorough Murphy-Hiscock is in this book, but what I love the most is how she emphasizes there is no right way to create and use a grimoire, and that there’s nothing wrong with deciding you don’t like what you created and start over again.

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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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/

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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.

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.

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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.

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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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.