10 Questions with Heather Greene

Today we’re talking with editor, author, and journalist Heather Greene about her latest book, “Lights, Camera, Witchcraft: A Critical History of Witches in American Film and Television.”

1. Your latest book is “Lights, Camera, Witchcraft: A Critical History of Witches in American Film and Television.” I guess the most obvious question here is, why explore this particular facet of history?

Stories of witches and witchcraft permeate so much of our culture across time and space. It is a fascination that is made of both adoration and fear, it would seem. In this study, I examined how American pop culture, specifically Hollywood and television, told these age-old stories and defined the character of the witch.

2. Your book discusses a dizzying volume of movies and television shows. Do you have any idea how much time you spent watching movies as research?

I could do some math based on the average length of shows and movies, but no, I do not have a number. In fact, in some cases, I watched the films or shows multiple times for analysis, and I also watched a good number of films not listed or mentioned. So basically, the answer is “a whole lot.”

3. How has the role of women in American culture been reflected by the role of the witch in film?

This is actually one of the main threads in the book. In short, witchcraft is more often than not an allegory for a woman’s or girl’s power. Therefore, the witch character reflects mainstream society’s relationship with that power at any given point in time. When her innate power is feared as in mid-century, the witch is an example of what not to be. When it’s celebrated as in the 1990s, witchcraft is a symbol of feminist expression or so called ‘girl power’. This is just a taste of a complex social history.

4. Overall, how has the witch in cinema evolved?

Again, this is the main thrust of the book itself. A quick answer: the witch began as a copy of stories and lore that had come before and expanded over time with a changing society. Her stories became more involved, more focused on her as a central character, and more nuanced in the definition of magic itself. The witch evolved into a uniquely Hollywood creation and a true reflection of American society’s negotiation of religion, gender, race, ethnicity, and power.

5. Has the portrayal of men as witches been a part of your research?

Yes. While women make up most of Hollywood’s witches, there are some standout male figures, and that needs to be discussed as well. Given that witches have long been associated with women within Western society in general, it is important to examine male representations and the roles that they play. There is a distinct difference and I discuss that point in the book.

6. Do you remember the first witch you saw in American film or television?

I would guess it would be Glinda and The Wicked Witch of the West. I loved The Wizard of Oz. However, it may have been Sabrina the Teenage Witch in her cartoon form or a Disney animated witch.

7. Who’s your favorite fictional witch?

The Wicked Witch of the West, although I’m partial to Looney Tunes’ Witch Hazel and Disney’s Maleficent.

8. Now that you’re done with this book, what are you watching on television?

I’ve been watching some wonderful British films that have absolutely nothing to do with witchcraft. British filmmakers have a wonderful way of telling compelling slice of life stories. The Beautiful Fantastic is one example. However, I did just start watching The Wheel of Time, which is in fact a great addition to the story of the witch on screen.

9. What’s next? Do you have any upcoming projects that my readers should be aware of?

As an acquisition’s editor at Llewellyn, I’m currently spending most of my time working with other authors on their books, which is something that I deeply enjoy. Helping authors go from idea to book-in-hand is fantastic. We like to call ourselves “book midwives.” I do post the books that I work on publicly in my photo library on Facebook. It is called My Llewellyn Book Shelf. https://www.facebook.com/heather.greene.165

I am also a religion journalist, covering predominantly witchcraft and pagan related stories. Readers can follow my work through my Twitter account @miraselena01.

For all my antics in one place, www.heathergreene.net.

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

What is your favorite witch movie and why?

That is a really tough question. When I was young, I went through a pretty hardcore “Bell, Book, and Candle” phase. Then I had the prerequisite “The Craft” love affair. My last witch movie obsession was “Practical Magic”, and I think that may be my favorite. It’s a mature take on magic and witchcraft, with a fantastic cast (Stockard Channing for life yo!), and a Stevie Nicks heavy soundtrack.

About Heather Greene:
Heather Greene is an editor, author, and journalist living in Atlanta, Georgia. She is currently an acquisitions editor with Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd and a freelance religion journalist. She has a BA from Wesleyan University and an MA from Emory University both in Film Studies. Her work can be found at Religion News Service, Religion Unplugged, The Washington Post, Circle Magazine, and The Wild Hunt. Her book “Lights Camera Witchcraft,” tracing witches in American film and television, was released October 2021. She is a member of Covenant of the Goddess, Religion Newswriters Association, and Circle Sanctuary.

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Tales of Witchcraft and Wonder

It is no secret that I love Claude Lecouteux. So, let’s not pretend that there’s a chance I won’t like one of his books. The real question is, why is THIS book just as worth reading as his other books?

Today we’re talking about “Tale of Witchcraft and Wonder: The Venomous Maiden and Other Stories of the Supernatural” by Claude and Corinne Lecouteux. This is another fascinating exploration of the evolution of lore from the Middle Ages. The format is wonderful because they share the oldest version of the story, and then they share iteration after iteration of the tale so you can read firsthand how they change. My description may come across as tedious, but to the contrary, it makes for a brisk, entertaining read. You’ll read tales of transformation, devilry, and magic.

If you’ve never tried a Lecouteux book, this is a wonderful place to start. “Tales of Witchcraft and Wonder” delivers on the title and maintains the level of accessible scholarship that we’ve come to associate with Lecouteux.

You can learn more here.

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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

Eclectic Witch’s Book of Shadows Review AND Giveaway

There was a lot of excitement leading up to the release of Deborah Blake’s latest book, “The Eclectic Witch’s Book of Shadows: Witchy Wisdom at Your Fingertips,” and it was well deserved. I do not know who pitched this book idea and its format, but a hearty round of applause to everyone involved.

As always, Deborah Blake has written a charming and accessible book for anyone interested in the witchy world. She provides excellent guidance on what a Book of Shadows is and what it has to offer a practitioner of magic. Basics of divination, rituals, candle magic, herbs, stones, celebrations, and more are covered throughout the book. However, what takes this solid text and propels it to the level of modern classic, is the pairing of Deborah Blake’s writing with the artwork of artist Mickie Mueller. Every page features Mueller’s playful artwork in full color. Lastly, there are beautifully illustrated blank, lined pages for the owner to add their own notes and reflections.

The combination of Blake’s timeless wisdom, Mueller’s whimsical art, the sturdy hardcover format, and the owner’s personal reflections, gives “The Eclectic Witch’s Book of Shadows” the potential to become a cherished heirloom for magical families. In a marketplace flooded with books on the topic, Llewellyn put together the perfect team to create a standout.

You can learn more here.

Excited? You should be, because thanks to Llewellyn and Deborah Blake I have an EPIC giveaway to offer. I not only have a copy of “The Eclectic Witch’s Book of Shadows,” but also a copy of Blake’s “Everyday Witch Oracle” with a cute bag for it. Interested? Just direct your eyes to the Rafflecopter below. Giveaway ends on Friday, December 3, 2021, at 11:59pm eastern, is eligible for residents of the United States who are 18 years of age or older.

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.

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The Witch’s Path

Thorn Mooney gets it. “There was a time,” Mooney begins in her latest book “The Witch’s Path: Advancing Your Craft at Every Level”, “particularly toward the beginning of my practice of the Craft, when I would have planned an elaborate working to mark the occasion. The full moon is a great time to work magic, and I would have taken advantage of the opportunity. Maybe a spell for wealth or luck. Maybe I would have written a meditation and blended an appropriate incense to encourage visions. Maybe I would have cleansed and reconsecrated my altar and simply sat in silent prayer.”

“But not tonight,” she continues, “I had a long day at work and have a lot of other things on my mind. My boss is driving me nuts, I’m worried that I’ve misbudgeted and won’t have enough money to pay the car repair bill I just received, and I still need to figure what weekend would be good for our next coven meeting. I try to schedule two per month, but between a full-time job, birthdays, illnesses, and travel, it’s more like once per month. I’m exhausted, and I just want to sit on my couch with a glass of wine and remote control. That would be okay every now and then, but the truth is that I’ve made a bit of a habit out of this. This isn’t the first full moon I’ve skipped.”

THIS. I FELT THIS on every level. Mooney GETS IT. And I suspect those two paragraphs resonated with many of you too. If so, reward yourself with a copy of “The Witch’s Path”. This book answers the question of what comes after. After you’ve decided you’re a witch of some sort. After you’ve established a bit of a practice. After the practice becomes routine. She offers practical insights, ideas, and exercises to embellish or reinvigorate your practice.

If you’re new to the craft, “The Witch’s Path” offers guidance to help avoid pitfalls when establishing a practice, and if you have an established practice, there is definitely something here 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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Tree Magic Review and Giveaway

It’s time for a heart to heart. Sandra Kynes is way under appreciated. Why is that? Is it because while other authors are curating their Instagram grids, she has had her nose to grindstone, steadily and consistently authoring dozens of books about everything ranging from crystals to plants to symbols and more? This isn’t meant to be a slam on the social media savvy authors out there, many of whom I enjoy following greatly, but what I’m trying to say is that Kynes has been doing the work. I can’t help but feel like for her it has been thankless job.

For example, with what seems like zero fanfare, Kynes latest book “Tree Magic: Connecting with the Spirit & Wisdom of Trees” released. Do magical folks no longer care about trees? Seems unlikely. But if for some reason you’ve been lacking enthusiasm for trees, “Tree Magic” will fix that! The core, or perhaps roots is a better term, of the book come from Kyne’s 2006 book “Whispers from the Woods.” However, “Tree Magic” is thoroughly revised and greatly expanded with a focus on magical practices. Kynes profiles over 60 trees including scientific information, astrological correspondences, deities associated with certain trees, elemental correspondences, wildlife and magical creatures that favor each tree, powers and attributes of the tree, and even more! The extensive information provided allows you to use the tree as a focus of your magic, or as an enhancement to your already existent magical practices.

Sandra Kyne’s “Tree Magic” is filled with so many new ideas I found myself, a non-nature-oriented gal, inspired to look for new ways to use them in my personal practice.

You can learn more here.

Are you looking for tree inspiration? Tree-spiration? The good news is, Sandra Kynes was kind enough to give us a signed copy of her latest book to giveaway! As per usual, we’ll be using Rafflecopter! Giveaway ends at 11:59pm eastern on 09/11/2021. Must be 18 years or older to enter.

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

10 Questions with Brandon Weston

Today we’re speaking with Brandon Weston, owner of Ozark Healing Traditions and author of “Ozark Folk Magic: Plants, Prayers, and Healing”.

1. How did you first become interested in the folk magic of the Ozarks?

My interest goes back to childhood. I’m from a multi-generational Ozark family, so I grew up with a lot of traditions, practices, and home remedies that I never thought were a part of some bigger culture. I just thought it was my weird family! For instance, I had a great uncle on my dad’s side who was a wart charmer, specifically a wart buyer. If you had a wart, you’d go see Uncle Bill and he’d pull out a penny or dime and say, “I’ll buy ‘em off you.” And you always knew to take the money and your warts would disappear overnight.

Things like that, and I have so many more examples, were just day-to-day life in the Ozarks. I only ever realized that I myself was a part of an actual culture when I was in college and I found Vance Randolph’s Ozark Magic and Folklore where he discusses all of the stories and traditions I’d grown up with. That was really the starting point for me. A sort of wake up call to my own heritage. After that I wanted to know the state of the Ozarks today. Were these practices still alive? Were there still witches and healers out in the hills? So, I started collecting stories from family first then moved outward into other families and communities across the Ozark region, from Arkansas up and through Missouri.

I didn’t start off as a practitioner at first, that came later. I wanted to be a folklorist like Vance Randolph. But then I met an old healer who kicked me in the rear and said, “You know you’re a part of this story too, right?” Up until that point I’d never considered myself a cultural representative; I was still in the old mindset of a stranger looking in and observing a culture without participating in it. So, I scrapped my work, stopped recording stories, and started actually listening and learning from these amazing keepers of so much power and wisdom. From there it all grew into the path I’m walking currently.

2. What made you decide to write your book “Ozark Folk Magic: Plants, Prayers & Healing?”

It was really a desire to update the story. Nothing has been written about Ozark healing and magical practices from an actual practitioner. And I want to reiterate that because folks don’t often believe me. The only thing that even mentions more secretive practices is Vance Randolph’s Ozark Magic and Folklore and that was first published under the title Ozark Superstitions in 1947. Randolph wasn’t a practitioner and didn’t approach Ozark folk beliefs in a very respectful way. He was notorious for making things up that might appeal to the reader as well as publishing material without the permission of healers. There’s still a taboo amongst many old timers about writing down charms and spells as they believe it will “kill” the charm.

Since Vance Randolph, there has been a lot written about the history of the Ozarks and even the cultural traditions of its people, but still nothing about healing and magic which are so often relegated to the “simple” beliefs of a superstitious people. I knew this wasn’t true. I knew there were complex systems of practice hidden beneath that “simple” surface. So, I wanted to write the book that I would have loved reading as a kid. I wanted to write a work that would not only revitalize my culture but validate people as Ozarkers. We’ve been under the shadow of the hillbilly stereotype for so long and I really just wanted to help people break away from that while also getting in touch with their own magical roots.

3. I’ve noticed a definite uptick in excellent books on magic from the American mountains (yours, “Backwoods Witchcraft” by Jake Richards, and “Mountain Conjure and Southern Root Work” by Orion Foxwood, to name a few). What do you think has brought about an increased interest in this subject matter?

I know that personally, before I was ever a writer or practitioner, I was craving books to read about my own culture but there wasn’t anything out there apart from a few outdated publications. Growing up in this culture, I know the way the rest of the world has looked at us. I know how my grandparents and parents grew up, constantly trying to escape the hillbilly stereotype. Mountain people are sometimes just too nice to say anything when faced with such degrading experiences. Magic is one way for us to escape.

In the Ozarks, secrecy has always been an important part of the work. There’s a famous Ozark saying, “We always lie to strangers.” And it’s not because we’re trying to be rude or unfriendly, but it’s out of utmost respect for the traditions that we keep some things hidden. It used to be a lot more important as magic and healing practices meant survival out in the dangerous mountains. You also didn’t want to risk the conservative community around you thinking you were a witch. Nowadays things are a lot different and many people from mountain cultures are now seeing that a big part of our practice doesn’t need to be so secretive. We aren’t risking the same things as our ancestors were when we practice our magic openly.

Also, for me, I see my own culture dying every day with each passing old timer. I’m sure this is an experience shared by many others. For me, it’s important to share these stories now before it’s too late. Revitalizing the culture and making people proud of their mountain heritage actually helps save traditions because instead of running away from the “superstitions” of their families, people instead get interested in the old traditions and stories and start talking to those with the knowledge. So much has been lost by old timers passing away with no interested family or friends there to carry the torch into the future.

4. Personally, I loved the practical and pragmatic healing process that you provided a flow chart for in “Ozark Folk Magic”? Can you share it with my readers?

Traditionally, the healing process for Ozarkers began with observing the signs of physical illness. In some cases, no expert would be needed and home remedies that every family has would be enough to take care of most contagion. In rare occasions of serious injury or illness an expert would be called in. This was usually what the old timers called a “yarb doctor” or an herbalist. This could also include the granny woman who was traditionally considered a midwife but was also an all-encompassing healer figure for the community. Physical illness was diagnosed through physical means, usually observing the body, for example the color of the eyes or tongue as well as the pulse. Physical illness was treated with physical medicines derived from local plants, sometimes mixed with pharmaceutical compounds like tinctures and resins. Choosing a physical medicine was based on the humoral system as well as the system of hot/cold and wet/dry. A fever, for example, is considered hot/dry so the medicine used would aim at countering that condition and could include “yarbs” or healing plants like mountain mint, which has a cold/wet aspect. Physical illness might also include injuries like burns or cuts. In these cases there are specialized “blood stoppers” and “burn doctors” whose magical gift is focused solely on these areas. They might also be considered alongside a local herbalist as the first line of defense against illness and injury.

In most cases, physical cures would take care of physical illnesses. In cases of prolonged sickness, stronger medicines might be used. Illnesses that persist even at this point, or have strange symptoms that don’t match any know contagion, are suspected to be of a magical origin. At this point a magical expert would be called in to diagnose the real cause of the problem using magical means, usually various divination techniques. If the signs or “tokens” point to a magical cause, then magical cures are sought in the form of ritual, verbal charms, prayers, or creating talismans. Depending upon how serious the condition is, the more intense or involved the ritual might become.

To some extent this process is the same in the modern world. I always recommend folks see a doctor or therapist first before coming to me. I believe that the two sides of the healing process, the physical and spiritual can work together in balance. Many old timers no longer make such a separation between the physical and magical illnesses/cures. For example, one praying granny I met whose sole business was praying over and blessing prescription medications that locals would bring to her. She believed in the power of modern medicine but also knew her gift could make the medicines more effective.

5. I was surprised to learn about how diverse the types of “doctors” are and methods they use. Can you share a brief overview of them and their differences?

These doctors are considered a part of the “old Ozarks” or more traditional culture. You rarely hear these terms used today outside of tall tales around the campfire. Most people call simply call themselves “healers” or even “witches” today. You also on occasion hear someone saying they can “doctor” for illnesses, but this runs the risk of encounters with the law as practicing medicine without a license is still illegal across the region. Many people are much more careful about how they refer to their practice and use specific language to avoid trouble.

Traditionally though, there were a number of Ozark “doctors” or healers. The yarb doctor, as I mentioned earlier, was an herbal expert and specialized in healing using local plants, fungi, and mineral compounds. They rarely incorporated any verbal charms or prayers into their work.

Then there’s the power doctor, who unlike the yarb doctor almost exclusively worked with verbal charms, prayers, ritual, and the creation of amulets and talismans. While they often did use herbal concoctions, it was almost always in a magical way rather than for the benefit of the contained plant chemical compounds.

An all-encompassing figure in the community was the granny woman who was a combination midwife, herbalist, and magical expert. Granny women have often been degraded in many of the folk accounts but their position was often of the utmost importance in the community, especially since there used to be a strict taboo against male healers working on women.

There were also certain experts or specialized healers who worked in curing very specific needs. These include the blood stopper, burn doctor, wart charmer, and the witch master or goomer doctor who specialized in removing hexes and curses derived specifically from a physical assailant in the form of a witch.

6. Do you find people are surprised by the role that Christianity and the Bible play in these magic/healing traditions?

I definitely do. A lot of people in the Ozarks are still a part of a much more conservative Christian background and they automatically view anything called “magic” with witchcraft, which has traditionally been associated with evil. That’s changing, of course, as more and more people are reclaiming the title of witch for themselves, myself included. Ozark healing traditions were never called magic internally up until Vance Randolph and other folklorists like him who brought technical terms from the outside and applied them to the culture. Some of the more conservative Ozarkers still refer to their practice as “spiritual healing,” “praying,” “trying,” and many other old terms that would have separated this work from that of the so-called witch. Ozark culture is a complicated subject, though, and even though there might appear to be this very strict, very Christian exterior at times, this was often a way for healers to safely practice and avoid being labeled as a witch. I think there’s sometimes the mistaken view that more traditional or conservative cultures are therefore more religious and that’s not the case with the Ozarks. Religion or religious culture was often just the outward appearance whereas underneath the practices and traditions were, and still are, as diverse as there are practitioners. So, you might have a healer who is outwardly more traditional or conservative in their culture but underneath that they are working with the fairies in their healing practice, or angels, or other entities that definitely don’t fit into the more religiously conservative culture.

7. You make a good point in “Ozark Folk Magic.” Although it stems from certain traditions that can be traced WAY back, these things still continue to evolve. What evolution have you witnessed, and do you have an idea what may be next?

The first major evolution with Ozark folk traditions came around the beginning of the 20th century when roads got better and towns started building up. This was when tourists from outside the Ozarks starting flocking to the region to get a view of a real-life hillbilly, up close and in person. This was also when the major Ozark folklorists began their work. This influx of interest from the outside created a sort of folk culture revival for people where storytellers and traditional musicians started performing for large audiences and actually making some money. The folk culture became much more outward facing and a lot of the subtle nuances were lost as life became about either appeasing or avoiding the tourists.

The next evolution came in the 60’s and 70’s with the back to the land movement and an influx of outsiders into the hills, many of which were from much larger urban areas, in particular California. These groups were already a part of the New Age movement and would have brought with them different religious and spiritual traditions like yoga, Transcendental Meditation, Wicca, and many others. This clash of cultures with the Ozark hillfolk has lasted up until today in many places, but underneath the surface, many traditional healers and magical practitioners incorporated this new culture into their own.

Currently, more and more people are getting interested specifically in what we might call Traditional Witchcraft, which today often encompasses not only folk magic practices but also an earth-based spiritual system as well as folk herbalism and practical healing methods. This is one of the reasons I see so many people taking on the title of witch; so much information is now contained in such a simple word. This is where I see the practice going. Embracing cultural heritage practices in the form of traditional magic and spirituality, while at the same time taking a critical view of problematic pieces of our own history.

8. Is there a place for lifelong residents of urban environments in this practice?

Of course. Pretty soon even us Ozarkers are going to be in the middle of a vast urban landscape as well. Traditions have to change and move with the times. But, I do think at the heart of Ozark practice is a deep connection to the land, however that might manifest for the individual. While I personally draw a lot of power and inspiration from being out in the woods away from all the modern stuff, towns and cities are a part of the Ozark landscape as well and there’s absolutely a place in this practice for those who draw more from the urban environment than the wilds.

9. What’s next? Do you have any upcoming projects my readers should be aware of?

Right now I’m working on my second book, which so release from Llewellyn next year. It’s going to be all the spells, recipes, and rituals I couldn’t squeeze into the first book. Basically, “Ozark Folk Magic” is the theory and the second book will be all the practice materials.

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

Do you have any family or ancestral traditions that you’ve incorporated into your own practice?

Sadly no, and this uptick in folk magic that highlights family/ancestral traditions really drives it home. It makes me a sad panda.

About Brandon Weston:
Brandon Weston is a spiritual healer, medium, and writer living in the Arkansas Ozarks. He is author of “Ozark Folk Magic: Plants, Prayers, and Healing” and owner of Ozark Healing Traditions, a collective of articles, lectures, and workshops focusing on traditions of medicine, magic, and folklore from the Ozark Mountain region. As an active healer, his work with clients includes everything from spiritual cleanses to house blessings and all the weird and wonderful ailments in between. He comes from a long line of Ozark hillfolk and works hard to keep the traditions that he’s collected alive and true for generations to come.

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

New World Witchery

I don’t know where to begin with today’s review. “New World Witchery” by Cory Thomas Hutcheson is my kind of a book. A book I always wanted to find, but never did. Obviously until now.

“New World Witchery: A Trove of North American Folk Magic” by Cory Thomas Hutcheson delivers on its subtitle. It is an amazing treasure trove of North American folk magic. Unbeknownst to me there is a podcast called “New World Witchery” that Hutcheson is the cohost. He also has a doctorate in American Studies with specializations in folklore, religion, and ethnicity from Penn State. Is this the North American Claude Lecouteux we’ve been waiting for? Or at least I’VE been waiting for? By all indications, yes!

The main difference between the 100% scholarly writings of Lecouteux and what you’ll find in “New World Witchery” is that Hutcheson also provides ways to practice some of the folk magic found in the different branches of North American magic. Hutcheson divides the book into 12 rites (essentially 12 parts): naming, initiation, casting the spell, second sight, flight, chewing the root, the familiar, hallowing the ground, calling the moon, working the charm, necromancy, and invisibility. Each section is filled with primary source writings about witchcraft and folk magic. There are also biographies of many of North America’s folk magic forebearers. And, of course, the aforementioned magical exercises you can try yourself.

Just in case this all wasn’t enough to nerd out too, there is a big ol’ bibliography and recommended reading.

I truly cannot imagine anyone who wouldn’t enjoy “New World Witchery” by Cory Thomas Hutcheson, which is why I’m so excited to say that I have an extra copy of this book to offer in a giveaway!

This giveaway is open to people 18 years-old and up in the United States. As usual, I’m using Rafflecopter. Giveaway ends on Saturday 08/01/2021 at 11:59pm eastern.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can learn more here.

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The Modern Witchcraft Guide to Fairies

If you follow The Magical Buffet on social media (and you should), you might have saw a photo I posted of my adorable pitbull mix Sarah snoozing with Skye Alexander’s latest book “The Modern Witchcraft Guide to Fairies.” I asked if people were interested in a review and unsurprisingly, the general response was “yes.” This is because Sarah makes EVERYTHING look awesome, I’m sure. However, in taking a second glance at the text to start my review I realized that the author did an excellent job summing up her book in the introduction. Honestly, every time I started to write my review it kept reading like a rehash of her work. The kind people at Adams Media are allowing me to cut out the middle man, who in this case is me, and publish Alexander’s introduction here for you to read!

Introduction to The Modern Witchcraft Guide to Fairies by Skye Alexander

When you hear the word “fairy,” what image comes to mind? A miniature girl with gossamer wings and a sparkly dress, a la Disney’s version of Tinker Bell? A benevolent creature who flits about sprinkling fairy dust everywhere, waving her wand to make children’s wishes come true? If so, you’re in for a surprise.

Like unicorns and mermaids, these magickal entities have been denatured by pop culture, robbed of their mystique and majesty. The fairies of old were nothing like the sugar-coated cartoon characters we envision today. They were powerful beings of a semi-divine nature, who may have descended from the gods and goddesses. According to some tales, they served as the prototypes from which the human race evolved. They possessed amazing, supernatural powers—they could fly, make themselves invisible, shapeshift into humans, animals, plants, or stones, and they lived forever. Some aided human beings, but many were mischievous or even malevolent.

The English word “fairy” may have come from the Latin fatum, meaning “fate,” as did the French derivative fée, the Italian fata, and the Portuguese fada. According to some legends, fairies controlled human destiny. They showed up at a baby’s birth to celebrate the new arrival, as the story of Sleeping Beauty tells us, and to determine the child’s future—which depended on how the parents treated the fairies.

Fairies could provide healing and protection from harm, but they could also inflict illness, shipwreck sailors, and cause soldiers to falter on the battlefield. They could bring riches, but they might also blight crops, destroy livestock, and steal children. As in the human world, the fairy realm has its good guys and its bad actors. Wiccans who follow the Wiccan Rede will not use their connections to fairies for harm; instead, they’ll finds ways to harness their powers for the good of all.

How to Use this Book

In this book, you’ll learn how to reconnect, through Wiccan practices, with these magickal beings who fascinated and frightened our ancestors. You’ll gain insight into their characteristics and behavior. You’ll find out where and how they live. You’ll discover ways to attract and interact safely with fairy helpers. In doing so, if the fairies are friendly, you can improve and enhance your Wiccan powers.

In Part One, I discuss the long-standing links between witches and fairies. Our ancestors believed witches and fairies shared numerous powers, including the ability to control the weather. According to some sources, the fairies taught witches their craft. I also talk about why the two groups can benefit from collaborating today and how working together can help not only us but the planet as well.

You’ll meet some of the best-known fairy families and learn about various types of fairies with whom you may want to do magick—and some you should avoid. Like people, some fairies are better suited to certain kinds of spellwork than others. For instance, leprechauns are solitary old guys and wouldn’t be much good at casting love spells— but they’re skilled in money matters and can help you prosper financially. Nature fairies, who care for the plant world, could be great allies for green witches. I also share some of the things I’ve discovered about where to look for fairies and how to entice them to partner with you, because they’re usually reluctant to deal with humans. Additionally, you’ll learn how to avoid offending the fae, who can be dangerous enemies if you get on the wrong side of them.

Part Two is an open grimoire of spells, rituals, and other activities you can do with the fairies. Each chapter focuses on a particular area of life, such as love, prosperity, protection, healing, and so on. I’ve included a chapter of magickal activities to engage in with the fae on each of the eight sabbats too. Some of these practices will be familiar to you—if you’ve been following the witch’s way for any length of time, you’ve surely used candles, herbs, and gemstones in your work. Performing them with fairies, however, will add a new dimension. Other techniques, such as shapeshifting and shamanic journeying, may be new to you—especially if you’re visiting fairyland for the first time. At the beginning of each chapter, I suggest certain types of fairies that I think might be the most willing and able to assist you in your spellcraft.

At the end of the book is an Appendix that I hope you’ll find helpful and easy to use. This isn’t intended to be all-inclusive—it’s not an encyclopedia—but it can serve as quick reference guide when you’re deciding what to factor into your spells.

Working with the fae and integrating them into your Wiccan practices can be a rewarding experience that brings added depth and breadth to your magickal endeavors. It will enrich your self-knowledge and power. Allying yourself with fairies will also increase your appreciation for the natural world, other worlds, and for all beings who inhabit the physical and nonphysical realms. If you feel drawn to follow this path, you’ll be rewarded on your journey. But proceed with care.

Blessed Be.

About Skye Alexander:
Skye Alexander is the award-winning author of more than thirty fiction and nonfiction books, including “Your Goddess Year”, “The Only Tarot Book You’ll Ever Need”, “The Modern Guide to Witchcraft”, “The Modern Witchcraft Spell Book”, “The Modern Witchcraft Grimoire”, “The Modern Witchcraft Book of Tarot”, and “The Modern Witchcraft Book of Love Spells”. Her stories have been published in anthologies internationally, and her work has been translated into more than a dozen languages. The Discovery Channel featured her in the TV special, Secret Stonehenge, doing a ritual at Stonehenge. She divides her time between Texas and Massachusetts.

Excerpted from The Modern Witchcraft Guide to Fairies by Skye Alexander. Copyright © 2021 by Simon & Schuster, Inc. Used with permission of the publisher, Adams Media, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. All rights reserved.

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Anatomy of a Witch

Laura Tempest Zakroff set out to write a “manual to the most magical tool in your possession,” and in this, she succeeded. What is this amazing tool? Your body. Welcome to “Anatomy of a Witch: A Map to the Magical Body.”

Zakroff utilizes all the tools at her disposal: tarot, meditation, journaling, ritual, her artistic talent (including her noteworthy sigil work) and writing skills to take you on a journey through your body. “Anatomy of a Witch” begins with lungs, moves to the heart, discusses the body’s primal part (referred to as the Serpent), moves on to the bones, and concludes with the mind. The end goal is to have a better relationship with yourself and your magic.

“Anatomy of a Witch” is a triumph of blending magical modalities and self-improvement. Essentially, if you have a body (even one as dysfunctional as mine!), you need this book. I feel this is destined to be a classic!

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