Favorite Things 2017

If you’re new to reading this site, you may not know that at the end of every year I do a post about 10 of my favorite things that year. I try to publish in time for you to acquire said things for gift giving purposes, whether it’s a gift for yourself or someone else. Every year I also point out that my list is WAY better than Oprah’s because all of my favorite things are affordable. Particularly when compared to some of her picks. That’s when I point out that I should just be the next Oprah. Consider this paragraph, my annual “I’m better than/or the next Oprah” rant.

The list is presented in no particular order, and everything is new to me this year, not necessarily something that came out this year. I think that covers everything, so let’s get to the list.

“Everyday Witch Tarot” by Deborah Blake with art by Elisabeth Alba. It’s no secret that I love me some Deborah Blake, but trust me when I say she really hit it out of the park with her first tarot deck. Blake’s witchy interpretation of the traditional Rider-Waite deck combined with Alba’s whimsical art created an instant tarot classic that hopefully Llewellyn will keep in print for many years to come. Learn more here.

“The Art and Science of Hand Reading” by Ellen Goldberg and Dorian Bergen. This book is the real deal. If you purchase this book you truly may never need another book about hand reading. It’s a massive text book full of more information than you may have ever thought available. For those looking to get serious with their hand reading work in the new year, look no further. Learn more here.

“The Tarot of Bones” by Lupa. Lupa is a well established Pagan author of works focusing on nature and her first self-published tarot deck is the culmination of her work as a scholar of nature and as an artist. Lupa’s use of animal bone and elements of nature create a whole new approach to the tarot and makes it a must own for tarot collectors and lovers of the natural world. Learn more here.

“Plant Magic: A Year of Green Wisdom for Pagans & Wiccans” by Sandra Kynes. “Plant Magic” is a reminder that one of Kynes strengths is her ability to catalog the connections between things. In this book the focus is entirely on plants including a plant’s relationship to a particular holiday, what plants grow best each month, and what plants can be found in the wild each month. And of course the magical correspondences of all those plants! Learn more here.

“Drug Wars: How Big Pharma Raises Prices and Keeps Generics Off the Market” by Robin Feldman and Even Frondorf. Not a light, easy read, but an important one for those of us interested in how prescription drugs work in America. Learn more here.

“Secret Medicines from Your Garden: Plants for Healing, Spirituality & Magic” by Ellen Evert Hopman. Reading “Secret Medicines from Your Garden” makes you feel like the author is personally leading you on a wilderness adventure. Hopman regales you with anecdotes from her spiritual journey and herbalism training. This is easily the most engaging book about plants ever. Learn more here.

“Fairies, Pookas, and Changelings: A Complete Guide to the Wild and Wicked Enchanted Realm” by Varla Ventura. This book is fantastic. The author’s enthusiasm for the subject matter is obvious as she relates assorted tales from folklore. I always love how she unearths the more obscure creatures for these books. In this one you’ll find fairies, pookas, and changelings (of course). You’ll also read about bonga, trolls, coblyns, brownies, and even Rumpelstiltskin! Learn more here.

“The Book of Thoth: Egyptian Tarot” by Aleister Crowley. If you’re an occult book nerd like myself, this new edition of “The Book of Thoth” is some hot book porn. This new facsimile edition of “The Book of Thoth” is a faithful reproduction of the Samuel Weiser Inc. 1969 edition, which in turn was a facsimile of the original O.T.O. edition printed in 1944. The text is digitally restored, printed on a heavy, coated stock, and features revised color plates and black and white illustrations of the Thoth Tarot based on new photography of the original art, courtesy of the O.T.O. and The Warburg Institute. The book text block is smyth sewn, with a rounded back, and headbands. Printed endpaper reproduces the Egyptian motif from the board covers of the 1944 edition. The cover is quality cloth over boards with gold stamping on the spine, and is wrapped with a jacket which again features updated art while matching the original design. Learn more here.

“The Yogi Diet: Spirituality and the Question of Vegetarianism” by James Morgante. I love food. I love learning about religions. This book talks about both, in depth. I loved it. Learn more here.

“Botanical Inspirations Deck and Book Set” by Lynn Araujo with art by Pierre-Joseph Redouté. This deck shares folklore, symbolism, and more for each flower or plant. It features absolutely beautiful artwork by Pierre-Joseph Redouté. This is the perfect deck for lovers of oracle style decks and/or fans of flowers. Learn more here.

Assuming the comments on the site are working, tell me some of your favorites of this year! Or tell me on The Magical Buffet’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram accounts!

Think Before You Pink 2017

Let’s get ready to rumble folks! It’s Think Before You Pink 2017 and this year is a great campaign. With this year’s campaign, “Knot Our Pink Ribbon”, Breast Cancer Action is taking the original pinkwasher Estee Lauder to task. And as a makeup and skincare enthusiast, I am all for it.

Estee Lauder, along with many other cosmetic/skincare companies, have profited on selling the idea of beauty and vitality, while not being forthcoming with consumers about the components of their products. America’s cosmetic industry is surprisingly under regulated putting the consumer in a position to try and understand exactly what it is they are putting on their skin.

Estee Lauder commandeered the pink ribbon from hard core, grassroots, activist Charlotte Haley to help bring more “awareness” to breast cancer, and yet today they create products that included ingredients suspected of increasing breast cancer risk, such as parabens and octinoxate.

I’m happy to participate in the “Knot Our Pink Ribbon” campaign. Hopefully it will be a signal not just to Estee Lauder, but to all cosmetic and skincare companies that it is time to consider the health of their consumers.

To learn more, and send message to Estee Lauder, visit: https://thinkbeforeyoupink.org/2017/10/join-us-in-putting-a-knot-in-the-pink-ribbon/

Prison Evangelism

I received an interesting press release that I’d like to share, along with some personal observations. First, let’s take a look at the press release:

Oil industry veteran David Howell is working a rich new harvest field—saving souls and reducing the prison population through a graphic guidebook, allowing public funds to be diverted to other pressing needs.

Mailing copies of his How To Be a Child of God to prisoners for just 54 cents a copy offers a remarkable 7,000-to-1 return on investment, according to Howell. That’s because keeping someone from returning to prison by helping them find new life and hope as a Christian saves around $31,000 a year in incarceration costs.

With a record 2 million-plus people currently behind bars in the United States, Howell now wants to expand the reach of his Prison Evangelism project by distributing an additional 600,000 free copies of How To Be a Child of God to prison chaplains nationwide. Doing so responds to Jesus’ admonition in Matthew 25 for his followers to remember those in prison, who have an extremely high conversion rate when presented with the gospel.

“Imagine the impact we can have, not only on individuals and their families, but on society as a whole, as they find new purpose and power for living and put prison behind them,” Howell said.

Prison Evangelism research on distribution to date shows that one in 10 people who reads the 52-page booklet makes a commitment to Christ. That means if the national campaign saw a similar response and those impacted did not return to prison, the saving to taxpayers would be $2.1 billion annually. Additionally, the reduced inmate population would be equivalent to closing 60 prisons.

The owner of Houston-based pipeline consulting firm Pipeline Equities, who began working in the oil and gas fields as a 14-year-old “roughneck,” Howell has been active in sharing his faith since becoming a Christian in 1984. That decision “turned my life around,” forsaking drinking and wayward living, he said.

Involved in a wide range of other ministries at Houston’s Second Baptist Church, Howell created How To Be a Child of God in 2010 to pass out to people he met. Asked to provide some copies for use in prisons, he was amazed by the response. Letters began to come in from prisoners transformed by what they read. Among them was a man in jail in Midway, Texas, who wrote how the book touched his heart. “This book has been an inspiration to me. It opened my eyes to some great things and I soaked it all up like a sponge. I’ve finally put my life in His hands after all I’ve been through. Now I’m growing spiritually every day,” he said.

Since then, Howell has printed and distributed more than 110,000 copies to prison chaplains across the country, including 25,000 in Spanish. The book has been translated into a dozen languages, and turned into a 20-minute online video (www.howtobeachildofgod.com). He has also produced two popular follow-up books in similar style, Seeking God Through Prayer & Meditation and Fully Alive and Finally Free.

Howell credits the impact of the publications, written at a sixth-grade reading level, to their simple language and the emphasis on being transformed by the resurrection power of Jesus Christ. Additionally, as a standalone piece that can be reread and studied by prisoners who may be isolated or have time on their hands, it self-directs the reader into making a commitment to Christ without requiring others’ involvement.

“These are people who have come to an end of themselves, and that is where all of us must come before we are willing to accept the need for a power greater than ourselves,” said Howell.

John Salmon, chaplain at Diboll Correctional Center in Diboll, Tex., said that How To Be a Child of God had been “very popular” with the men there. “They actually read it,” he wrote. “And you know what happens when people expose themselves to the Word of God.”

George Hanson put copies out for chapel services at the Price Daniel Unit in Snyder, Texas, “and they flew out of the door,” he said.

Having poured more than $300,000 of his own money into the project, Howell formed Prison Evangelism as a nonprofit a couple of years ago. Now 77, with three granddaughters and a great-grandson, he said, “I know that this is the reason God is keeping alive, for this project. It is what he designed and created me to do.”

Before deciding to feature this on my site I asked to receive a copy of “How to Be a Child of God” to read for myself. And although I’m not a Christian lass, I found nothing offensive in the book. It’s essentially a simply written book, with full color illustrations, instructing you on how to accept Jesus Christ into your life. The book also has a section about introducing others to Jesus Christ and I liked the part where it said, “we are not seeking to make bad people good, but spiritually dead people alive”. Making sure that they understand that just because a person hasn’t accepted Jesus Christ doesn’t make them a bad person, just different. The focus of the book is on the internal life of the individual, it’s not a vehicle of radicalization.

I think it’s nice that Howell has found something like this to put his energy into. I believe in prison outreach be it through assorted chaplains, yoga and meditation classes, service dog training, or any number of other programs that are out there. Yes prison is a punishment, but it should be a place that offers rehabilitation too.

Prison Evangelism (www.prisonevangelism.com) is a faith-based nonprofit committed to transforming and rehabilitating offenders through the distribution of “How to Be a Child of God” and other evangelistic and discipleship materials designed to help prisoners find new purpose and power in life through a relationship with Jesus Christ.

2016 and Beyond

I think most people agree, 2016 blew chunks. Sure, lot of good things happened last year, but the overall take on 2016 is that it was a garbage fire of global proportions. Don’t feel bad, it was shitty over here at The Buffet as well.

It couldn’t have gone unnoticed that I posted a nearly nonexistent amount in 2016. That’s because, as we’ve all observed, 2016 stunk. Many of you know that I’ve been struggling with a daily headache for about 5 years. That’s exactly what it sounds like, roughly 5 years ago I woke up with a headache and it has never gone away. Some days it’s kind of mild, most days it’s fairly strong, and sometimes it’s just full on unbearable. In 2016 I just kind of shut down with it. Most days I use up all my energy just going to work and so when I come home, or it’s the weekend, I just don’t want to do anything. Fortunately I have an understanding group of friends, and family, that understand that I’m just not as active as I used to be and don’t take it personally that I’m home more than out. Sadly, this meant that I pretty much ignored The Magical Buffet.

As I type this, over 2000 emails sit in The Magical Buffet’s email inbox going unread. I have no content immediately ready to post. I’ve gone to no events and with my health and finances, I’m uncertain if I’ll be going to any this year. It’s been unfair to a lot of people: loyal readers, fantastic publishers and publicists that have supported me, and most of all, it’s been unfair to myself. Although I don’t consider myself much of a writer, I enjoy The Magical Buffet and I love getting to share things I like with its readers.

So with this new year I’m going to do my best to fight my instincts to just stay shut down and instead attempt to slowly trudge forward and reconnect with The Magical Buffet. I have piles of awesome books and products you should know about and I have been learning some new stuff that I would like to share. I just want to thank everyone that is still subscribed to the site and following The Magical Buffet on Facebook and Twitter. I’m hoping to soon have The Buffet on Instagram too! I also want to say a special “thank you” to Inner Traditions and Red Wheel/Weiser who have continued sending me great books to look at even when I haven’t been active.

Hopefully 2017 will be a good year, a better year for all of us. I think we all need each other more than ever so let’s be good to each other, okay?

And stay tuned….

Think Before You Pink 2015

It’s October, which means it is time for me to tell you about this year’s Think Before You Pink campaign from Breast Cancer Action. This year’s campaign, “Poison Isn’t Pretty”, has been rubbing some people the wrong way but I’m hoping I can present it to you in a way that helps you understand their position and why I’m supporting “Poison Isn’t Pretty” and I hope you will too.

“Poison Isn’t Pretty” is calling out the Personal Care Products Council and the American Cancer Society for including cosmetic products containing harmful chemicals in kits they give to cancer patients through their “Look Good, Feel Better” program. The “Look Better, Feel Better” program provides free workshops, beauty tips, and complimentary makeup kits to women in cancer treatment. Breast Cancer Action IS NOT saying that the “Look Good, Feel Better” program is bad. What they are asking for is more responsibility from people who are helping women getting treated for cancer.

Many of the products offered to women in “Look Good, Feel Better” kits contain chemicals linked to increased cancer risk, including parabens, Teflon, and formaldehyde releasers. Some of the chemicals in “Look Good, Feel Better” products may actually interfere with breast cancer treatment. The chemical methylparaben, for example, not only increases breast cancer risk by mimicking the hormone estrogen, it can also interfere with the common cancer drug Tamoxifen.

It seems that since the “Look Good, Feel Better” program is a charitable organization established by the Personal Care Products Council, which is described on their on their own website as “the leading national trade association representing the global cosmetic and personal care products industry”, that they should be able to ensure that the makeup kits given to cancer patients only contain cosmetics that are safe for use. I won’t even discuss that perhaps maybe us other ladies who enjoy makeup shouldn’t have to worry about whether or not our cosmetics are increasing our chances of cancer.

To sum up, the “Look Good, Feel Better” program is good, however stocking the makeup kits with potentially cancer causing cosmetics is bad. So let’s tell them that “Poison Isn’t Pretty”!

To learn more about the “Poison Isn’t Pretty” campaign, visit here.

Both the Personal Care Products Council and American Cancer Society responded to the “Poison Isn’t Pretty” campaign here.

Women. Aren’t. Funny.

Midway through Goldie Hawn and Michael Eisner’s on-stage conversation at the Aspen Ideas Festival at the beginning of July, the former Disney CEO proposed a theory for what made Hawn stand out in Hollywood over the years.

“From my position, the hardest artist to find is a beautiful, funny woman,” he said. “By far. They usually—boy am I going to get in trouble, I know this goes online—but usually, unbelievably beautiful women, you being an exception, are not funny.” – The Atlantic 07/03/15

He of course thought Goldie Hawn was beautiful and funny, and she is, but this whole “women aren’t funny” and now upping the ante with a “woman can’t be beautiful and funny” really gets my goat. Hopefully it bothers you too.

I don’t understand why people think women aren’t funny, and seriously, why can’t they be beautiful and funny? Obviously humor, and beauty, are in the funny bone, and eye of the beholder, but I can easily show you a bunch of beautiful women with quite the knack for comedy.

Sandra Bullock
Aisha Tyler
Lucille Ball
Mila Kunis
Joan Cusack
Salma Hayek
Tina Fey
Sarah Silverman
Kathy Griffin
Wanda Sykes
Rita Rudner
Madeline Kahn

And I just can’t resist with Madeline Kahn…..

There you go, a dozen beautiful, funny women just like that. BAM! And I could easily go on. I bet you guys know other hot and humorous ladies, and yet this idea persists that women aren’t funny. There’s even a documentary exploring the idea.

Now Streaming on Netflix!

Now unfortunately comments are still broken on the website, but if you know some other seriously funny and attractive ladies to share, feel free to share them on our Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ page. And let’s tell the world beautiful women can be funny!

40 Years of Inner Traditions

June is a pretty exciting month. For starters 11 different friends have birthdays this month, there’s Father’s Day, and there is my wedding anniversary. So one thing I’m telling you is that I am totally broke at the end of June, but also that there is a lot of stuff happening in June for me. However, there is a reason that you should be excited that it’s June, and that is because June 2015 marks 40 years of independent publishing for Inner Traditions!

Inner Traditions is a wonderful company that was one of the first to offer The Magical Buffet review copies. Obviously, that makes them tops in my book! It could also be their founder, Ehud Sperling’s, commitment to preserving and discovering new age and spiritual traditions of the world that date back to his days as an employee at the bookstore Samuel Weiser’s Inc. in 1970. Their books are published using sustainable forestry that is certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. The company generates power from solar panels on the roof of its office and its solar farm, both in Vermont. Lastly, Inner Traditions supports and administers the Hacienda Rio Coté. The project has acquired land in Costa Rica adjacent to the Rio Coté National Forest along the Rio Coté, which flows from Lake Coté, once an active volcano. They planted more than 56 different species of trees to help restore the watershed and reforest the farms that were acquired for this project. What I’m saying is, they’re definitely one of the good guys.

Inner Traditions in Vermont

They are so good that when I emailed them and told them that I was going to be doing a giveaway to celebrate their 40th anniversary they sent me some of the nicest tote bags I have ever seen. Seriously, so nice. I don’t want to be shown up though, so I have pulled from my own library 10 different books that have been published by Inner Traditions (or one of their imprints) to give away!

Let’s lay it all out here. To celebrate Inner Traditions’ 40th anniversary I went through my personal library and pulled 10 different books that have been published by Inner Traditions (or one of their imprints) to give away to ONE winner along with a super snazzy Inner Traditions tote bag, which you will need to haul ALL of these books around! What books? Here we go:

“Shamanic Awakening: My Journey Between the Dark and the Daylight” by Sandra Corcoran

“The Heart-Mind Matrix: How the Heart Can Teach the Mind New Ways to Think” by Joseph Chilton Pearce

“Spiritual Growth with Entheogens: Psychoactive Sacramentals and Human Transformation” edited by Thomas B. Roberts

“Mysteries of the Ancient Past: A Graham Hancock Reader” edited by Glenn Kreisberg

“The Sense of Being Stared At: And Other Unexplained Powers of Human Minds” by Rupert Sheldrake

“Discover Your Soul Template: 14 Steps for Awakening Integrated Intelligence” by Marcus T. Anthony, Ph.D.

“The Akashic Experience: Science and the Cosmic Memory Field” edited by Ervin Laszlo

“Energy Medicine Technologies: Ozone Healing, Microcrystals, Frequency Therapy, and the Future of Health” edited by Finley Eversole, Ph.D.

“The Temples of Light: An Initiatory Journey into the Heart Teachings of the Egyptian Mystery Schools” (comes with a guided meditation cd!) by Danielle Rama Hoffman

“Entering the Mind of the Tracker: Native Practices for Developing Intuitive Consciousness and Discovering Hidden Nature” by Tamarack Song

And you’ll also win……

The kick ass Inner Tradition tote bag.

But wait! Inner Traditions was cool and sent more than one sweet tote bag so there is going to be a second winner who will win….

An Inner Traditions tote bag. Haven’t you been paying attention?

Due to what I can only assume will be hernia inducing shipping costs, this contest is only open to residents of the United States. Sorry. Next contest will be wide open again, promise. Contest is open to individuals 18 years of age and older. Contest runs 06/06/15 and end at midnight on 06/13/15.

We’re going Rafflecopter again for this contest, so if I may direct your attention to the Rafflecopter box below to get you started on entering. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Boy and His Comics

Ugh, my right hand and wrist are killing me. I just spent hours scrolling through Amazon.com’s comic and graphic novel sale and then their selection of DC comic graphic novels. My faux nephew Jacob’s birthday is at the end of the month and along with the stuff I know he wants, Nerf guns and/or Pokemon cards, I have my mind (or probably more accurately my heart) set on getting him a graphic novel. For those of you who don’t know, a graphic novel is a collection of comics bound together into a book. It usually covers a story arc.

Now the sticky wicket of course is that Jacob is still young and most of the comics I read are definitely adults only. It’s on days like this that I miss my old comic book store. Both owners were insanely knowledgeable and I have no doubt they could have taken my taste in comics and cross referenced it with Jacob’s age and the next thing I know there would be several graphic novels on order. With them out of business, I’m left reading online reviews and making judgments based on cover art. If you have a good local comic book store, support them!

There I am, scrolling through the DC comic category of the comics and graphic novels of Amazon.com. So many memories surface scanning through the titles. The first comic I read was the graphic novel “Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes” and it’s still available and came up in the search. “Watchmen”, which was the book Jim gave me to read while we were dating. I saw the first Batman graphics that I read. “Preacher: Gone to Texas” and “V for Vendetta” that a customer loaned to me when I worked in retail. The list goes on. I was surprised by how many emotions just remembering the books evoked.

But perhaps not this Batman for the boy.

But perhaps not this Batman for the boy.

And eventually those are the feelings I want for Jacob. The DC universe is often criticized for being relentlessly dark. Sadly, in many ways, that is the real world that my faux nephew is growing up into. People are right, the DC universe is populated with crumbling utopias, corrupted paradises, and realities coming apart at the seams. Often the heroes in these worlds are mentally unstable billionaires, fallen angels, humans that court demons, animated vegetable matter, stage magicians, orphaned aliens, and fairy book characters on the run.

Yet despite how messed up the world is, and how screwed up they are, they always find something worth saving in the world, and something worth saving in each other. There’s a beauty in that. It’s that kind of shit that helps a boy become a man.