Familiars in Witchcraft

When I saw “Familiars in Witchcraft: Supernatural Guardians in the Magical Traditions of the World” by Maja D’Aoust I knew I wanted to read it. Who doesn’t love learning about those adorable animal familiars? In retrospect, it was a pretty myopic view. Fortunately, D’Aoust opened my eyes into what makes a familiar.

There’s so much more in the world to be considered a “familiar” than your typical black cat. D’Aoust takes a truly global approach to the conversation. Her discussion of Greek belly-talkers and sibyls and the source of their powers was eye-opening. The examination of the role of angels in Judeo-Christianity was something I never considered before as a “familiar” relationship. D’Aoust also looks at fairies, familiars in Chinese legend, and even their appearance in India. I also want to mention that the author’s own artwork is used throughout the book. It’s unusual that the author provides their own art, and in this case helps bring extra vitality to her words.

“Familiars in Witchcraft” is wonderful, global look at what defines a familiar and how that title is mutable depending on culture. A worthwhile read for all those interested in spirit.

You can learn more here.

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Witchcraft & Secret Societies of Rural England

I was honestly not prepared for how amazing “Witchcraft & Secret Societies of Rural England: The Magic of Toadmen, Plough Witches, Mummers, and Bonesmen” by Nigel Pennick turned out to be. I was expecting a scholarly text, or perhaps some fantastical legends, but what I ended up with was a perfect mix of both.

Pennick paints a vivid image of an earlier time in rural England. A time when magic and daily life coexisted seamlessly. The line between trade organizations and magical societies were blurred to make the average person’s difficult life a little easier. Millers, gardeners, people who worked with horses, and more, all had their own trade guilds that also functioned as secret societies. Tricks of the trade, as well as beneficial magic, that would aid them in their craft were shared. Entrance into these groups was harrowing and the price of betrayal was potentially quite high.

“Witchcraft & Secret Societies of Rural England” pulls on extensive research as well as the author’s contact and participation with the modern-day remnants, and revivals, of these groups and practices. “Witchcraft & Secret Societies of Rural England” is a fascinating read that I cannot recommend enough.

You can learn more here.

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Witchbody

I remember looking through the Weiser Books catalog and seeing “Witchbody” by Sabrina Scott. It was described as a graphic novel about everyday magic. I’m a fan of comic books, particularly in their collected form, commonly referred to as a “graphic novel”, so I had to check it out. Simply put, it’s amazing.

“Witchbody” is a beautiful and poetic exploration of ecology, magic, the environment, spirituality, and ontology. Scott’s art and prose combine to create not only a book, but a true magic item. Reading it changes you.

I don’t know what else to say. In my opinion “Witchbody” by Sabrina Scott is a must read and instant classic.


You can learn more here.

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Witching Hour

I’m not a big fan of journaling or keeping a diary. I was made to do it when I was young and in therapy. As an adult I’ve tried it out and generally find it a depressing chore. (Fortunately, with the prevalence of cognitive behavioral therapy, therapists these days don’t mention journaling.) That’s why if I’m going to use a journal, I like one designed with structure and purpose. One like “Witching Hour: A Journal for Cultivating Positivity, Confidence, and other Magic” by Sarah Bartlett.

This delightful, compact, 160-page full color journal is filled with exercises, articles, and spells. They’re divided into 8 sections: Self-Worth & Charism, Love & Romance, Abundance & Prosperity, Vocation & Lifestyle, Home & Well-Being, Success & Creativity, Dreams & Goals, and Friendship & Mentors. The format for the book is wonderful, but you cannot review the book without gushing about the illustrations of Rachel Urquhart (aka, Pony Gold). Her artwork is found throughout “Witching Hour” and takes Bartlett’s words to another level of magical.


If you’re like me, and want a more structured journaling experience, and love a touch of the magical, “Witching Hour” is the book for you!

You can learn more here.

The Witch’s Book of Self-Care

Here in New York we’re still in the cold, dark, grip of winter. As I type this, I’m waiting to see what happens with the next winter storm rolling through. Piled under blankets while listening to the fireplace makes me feel this is the perfect time to share my review of “The Witch’s Book of Self-Care: Magical Ways to Pamper, Soothe, and Care for Your Body and Spirit” by Arin Murphy-Hiscock. You may remember the author from the interview I did with her not too long ago.

Murphy-Hiscock states the goals of self-care as “healthy mind, healthy body, and healthy spirit.” At the beginning of the book she offers the simple definition of self-care as “self-care is any activity you do deliberately to take care of your mental, emotional or physical health.” She goes on to explain that the concept of self-care is compatible with magic “because magic is about listening to what’s inside you and the messages the Divine and nature have for you.” “The Witch’s Book of Self-Care” is truly proof of this because I feel it would appeal to people who practice magic looking for ideas for self-care, AND people who practice self-care looking to explore magic.

She divides the book into mental and emotional self-care, physical self-care, spiritual self-care, and household self-care. Contained within those chapters you’ll find diverse ideas ranging from a recipe for pot roast to affirmations to directions for making your own body butter. Seriously, this book has a little something for everyone.

If you’re like me, looking out a window into a cold, stormy winter, could I suggest “The Witch’s Book of Self-Care” to help fill the rest of the season?

You can learn more here.

A Short Story and a BIG Giveaway!

So…. remember back in October when The Magical Buffet was celebrating 10 years of existence? And how New World Library and Inner Traditions generously donated 2 of my all-time favorite books for a giveaway for the occasion? What you didn’t know is that I also reached out to Llewellyn Worldwide Publishing for a giveaway as well. Llewellyn said hey, instead of one book you like, why not let us send you multiple copies of 4 of our newest releases? I was like, heck yeah! Send them over!

This was mid-September and I patiently waited for the books. And waited. And waited. October came and went, and nothing. However, I was like, Llewellyn is so big and busy, I won’t bother them. Then late November I got a call from FedEx Ground. They had a package they had been trying to deliver for a while, but they suspected I moved. The address on the package wasn’t my previous address, it was the one BEFORE that one! Yet somehow the professionals at FedEx tracked me down and got the box of books to me! FedEx, you the best!

Which is why the 10th Anniversary giveaway train is about to leave the station one more time! Let’s call it The Magical Buffet 10th Anniversary/Holiday Season Giveaway Courtesy of Llewellyn! It just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?

What’s being given away? (descriptions from Llewellyn website)

“Traditional Wicca: A Seeker’s Guide” by Thorn Mooney.
While there are many powerful variations of contemporary Witchcraft, traditional Wicca offers unique experiences for those who seek it out. This book explores structured, coven-based styles of Wicca, in which the practitioners typically trace initiatory lineages back to Wicca’s early founders. Discussing covens, initiations, lineages, practices, ethics, and more, “Traditional Wicca” shares tips and ideas on how to get the most from this profound approach to Witchcraft.

Discover how to recognize healthy, reputable covens. Learn how to navigate the process of asking for training and succeeding in an outer court. Explore the spiritual strength of lineages, hierarchies, and initiation. This book also includes contributions from several practitioners, providing valuable first-person perspectives on what it’s like to be on the traditional Wiccan path.

“Essential Oils for Emotional Wellbeing: More Than 400 Aromatherapy Recipes for Mind, Emotion, and Spirit” by Vannoy Gentles Fite.
Throughout the ages, essential oils have been used to address a wide variety of mental, emotional, and spiritual needs. Bring this ancient knowledge into your modern life with “Essential Oils for Emotional Wellbeing”. Featuring more than 400 step-by-step recipes, this comprehensive guide makes it easy for you to take control of your wellness and spiritual journey. These recipes come in many forms, including:
• Bath and Shower Bombs
• Bath Salts
• Lotions
• Ointments
• Diffuser Scents
• Powders
• Rubs
• Salves
• Sprays
• Lip Balms
• Massage Oils
• Inhalants
It’s simple to find the recipes you need with this book’s well-organized categories based on conditions, emotions, needs, desires, and devotion. Learn about therapeutic properties, warnings, storage, and using essential oils for specific issues. With Vannoy Gentles Fite’s guidance, you’ll be able to use these gifts from the earth to benefit every aspect of your life.

“The Orphic Hymns: A New Translation for the Occult Practitioner” by Patrick Dunn.
The Orphic hymns are fascinating historical artifacts—87 devotions, invocations, and entreaties to the Greek gods that are as potent today as they were when they were originally developed nearly two thousand years ago. Designed to be used in contemporary spiritual practice and spellcrafting, this premium hardcover edition features spectacular new English translations by Patrick Dunn along with the original Greek on facing pages.

These translations are complete, accurate, and poetic—perfect for integrating into rituals and magical workings for every conceivable purpose, from protection to prosperity and everything in between. Written by a poet and occultist specifically for contemporary practitioners of magic, this must-have book also includes detailed notes to help you understand esoteric passages as well as suggestions for incense selection and the practical use of the hymns.

“The Orphic Hymns” also includes Thomas Taylor’s eighteenth-century translation as an appendix, an index of purposes, and a concordance with a glossary, a pronunciation guide, mythic backgrounds, and cross references of every deity and place named in the hymns.
These new translations of the Orphic hymns are powerful tools for magic and devotion. In addition to the translations of the 87 hymns, you will discover helpful notes and techniques for integrating the hymns into your practice.

“Carl Llewellyn Weschcke: Pioneer and Publisher of Body, Mind & Spirit” by Melanie Marquis.
To the countless people he inspired, Carl Llewellyn Weschcke will forever be known as the Father of the New Age. This vivid and entertaining book tells Carl’s story, from a childhood influenced by his Spiritualist grandfather to his early days as a member and president of the Minnesota NAACP. Discover the fascinating account of how he transformed Llewellyn Publications from a small publisher of astrology pamphlets into the largest and most important publisher of body, mind, and spirit literature. Read about Carl’s relationships with the most influential thinkers and teachers of the counterculture, and his public Wiccan handfasting and enduring relationship with his wife, Sandra. Written by longtime friend Melanie Marquis—and including photos and contributions from authors, artists, family, friends, and collaborators—this is a book that looks back at the kindling of a movement while empowering fellow travelers on their journey forward.

How can you win all of this? Glad you asked. You have from now until 11:59PM eastern December 24, 2018 to enter. That’s right, the winners will be announced on Christmas Day! Due to the sheer size and weight of the prize packages this giveaway is only open to those living in the United States. Don’t worry, I have many more giveaways lined up and those will be open internationally. Now, just do what the nice Rafflecopter widget asks and you’ll be entering!

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