The Big Book of Runes and Rune Magic

If you’re a reader of this website, you probably already know what runes are, but just in case you don’t; runes are an ancient Norse alphabet used for magic, communication, and divination. If you want to learn more, you’re in luck because I’m here to tell you about THE book about runes.

“The Big Book of Runes and Rune Magic: How to Interpret Runes, Rune Lore, and the Art of Runecasting” by Edred Thorsson is 320 pages of EVERYTHING rune. Thorsson has written THE book on runes. Actually, he has written over two dozen books about runes and all that research has culminated in “The Big Book of Runes and Rune Magic”.

It starts with an amazingly deep dive into the history of runes. Viking age, medieval, and modern runic history is discussed. This includes the history of runes in magic and divination as well. Then, utilizing this research Thorsson examines what he refers to as the hidden lore of runes. How the runes relate to cosmology, psychology, and the Gods. Only after a thorough study of these previous two sections are you ready to read the runes. Thorsson discusses divinatory theory and provides useful tables.

I’m loathe to say one book on any subject is all you’ll ever need, but “The Big Book of Runes and Rune Magic” by Edred Thorsson is as close as you’ll get.

You can learn more here.

Gods and Monsters

I am a sucker for packaging and formatting. Because of this, I am a sucker for Rockpool Publishing’s Supernatural Series. You may remember that in 2017 I reviewed “Witches and Wizards” by Lucy Cavendish, and in that review, I said, “This book is going to last, and better still it says, ‘The Supernatural Series Book One’ at the top. This hopefully means I can look forward to a shelf full of these attractive and interesting books.”

I now have two more attractive and interesting books from the series! These two have much in common with “Witches and Wizards”. Both are in the compact hardcover format that I loved with the previous book. Both have beautiful cover art and nice black and white illustrations throughout them. And both are big picture, general overviews, of subjects that could have books devoted to just one entry.

First up we have “Monsters and Creatures: Discover Beasts from Lore and Legends” by Gabiann Marin. This sucker discusses just about any creature you can think of! You’ll find well known creatures, like dragons, mermaids, werewolves, and centaurs. Marin also has loaded “Monsters and Creatures” with tons of lesser known creatures, such as kappas, pookas, kinnaris, and drop bears. (I would tell you about them, but shouldn’t you just buy the book?) At 196 pages it doesn’t go in depth with any of them, but “Monsters and Creatures” offers a great starting point.

The other book, “Gods and Goddesses: The Rise of Divine Mythologies”, also by Gabiann Marin, follows a similar format. Marin discusses deities with origins in Greece, Egypt, China, Rome, and more. However, she doesn’t just discuss deities of the past, but their existence in modern times. Again, it doesn’t go into great detail, but it’s a fabulous starting point.

If you’re looking to learn more about these books, visit here.

The Heart of the Goddess

“The Heart of the Goddess: Art, Myth and Meditations of the World’s Sacred Feminine” by Hallie Iglehart Austen was originally published in 1990, but Austen felt the time was right to bring it back.

She’s right. In this time of #resistance, Austen’s look at universal spiritual feminism is right on the mark. Respect for the earth, community building, and reclaiming the power womanhood all blend together in “The Heart of the Goddess”. Instead of your typical who’s who of female deities, Austen discusses each goddess from the perspective of a piece of artwork featuring the deity. This allows for a discussion of the origin of the art (geography and date) and with it, the history and culture surrounding the goddess.

To make “The Heart of the Goddess” a spiritual journey for the reader, the deities are collected into 3 parts: Creation, Transformation, and Celebration. Along the way Austen presents meditations, prayers, and thought exercises with the goddesses.

Regardless of how many books you own or have read about goddesses, I guarantee you that you’ve never encountered anything like this. Informative, spiritual, and filled with art pieces from antiquity to contemporary times, “The Heart of the Goddess” is, and will remain, a classic.

Learn more here.

The Hidden History of Elves & Dwarfs

It’s no secret that I love me some Claude Lecouteux. Trust me when I say that his latest book, “The Hidden History of Elves & Dwarves: Avatars of Invisible Realms” showcases what he does best…. connecting the dots.

Whereas generally he uses his “gift for comparing cultures, for suddenly making an unexpected leap, but perfectly pertinent to the train of thought”, as Régis Boyer points out in the foreword. This time much of the focus is on the mystery of who is Auberon? By tracing this character’s existence in French, Norse, and Germanic tales we learn much about the difference and similarities of dwarfs and elves throughout time and cultures. What you come away with is that things back then were much more fluid, particularly in terms of physical appearance, than what you find in today’s Dungeons & Dragons books.

Of course, at the heart of every Lecouteux book is the eventual encroachment of Christianity and how it effects these original legends. As expected, the originals, if they remain are perverted versions of how they began their lives. Some also disappear, only to reappear in some new context. And if you’re like me, you sometimes try to revive the legend in its original context.

If you’re familiar with Lecouteux and like his work, this is one of his best. If you are not familiar with him, this is a great entry point.

You can learn more here.

The Little Book of Cat Magic Review & Giveaway

I’ve tried to write an introduction to this review several times. Each time I rambled on and next thing I knew there would be a full page of text and I wouldn’t have even given the title of the book! Let me sum up, and in doing so you’ll see why I was predisposed to endless rambling. I’ve known author Deborah Blake for around 10 years. In all those years Blake has always had somewhere between 4 to 6 cats. I adore Deborah Blake and refer to her as my “sister from another mister”, and I always adore Deborah’s cats (although her assorted cats have held me at varying levels of affection). I could write pages of amusing and/or sweet stories about Deborah and her cats, but I tried that, and it didn’t make for a very concise book review. I’ll just tell you that there is no better qualified writer to author “The Little Book of Cat Magic: Spells, Charms, and Tales” than Deborah Blake.

Many authors have cats, but not only has Blake always had multiple cats, but for a long stretch she had an honest-to-goodness black cat familiar that went by the name, Magic the Cat, Queen of the Universe. Magic was so influential that I even interviewed her once! When Blake writes about working magic for, and with, your cat you know she’s speaking from experience. “The Little Book of Cat Magic” truly encompasses all aspects of “cat”. The history of cats and tales (or tails, as I prefer) abound. Tips, and spells, about finding a cat, living with cats, and cat deities are discussed. There is a section about crafts and treats you can make for your cat. Also, The Magical Buffet gets name checked in the section about cat tarot decks! Just sayin’.

And I cannot end this review without mentioning that the interior illustrations by Alice Rosen are top notch. Adorable, whimsical, magical cat illustrations run throughout the entire text.

Honestly, “The Little Book of Cat Magic” is for anyone who loves cats.

You can learn more here.

Now for some exciting news, we’ve got a giveaway! As I said, I’m friends with Deborah, so the last time I visited her she loaded me up with goodies for a giveaway, AND Llewellyn sent me a copy too! That means that we’re going to have 2 winners!

Grand Prize: autographed copy of “The Little Book of Cat Magic”, a broom pen, a cute toy cat, and a book plate created by artist Elizabeth Alba!

Second Prize: a copy of “The Little Book of Cat Magic” and a book plate created by artist Elizabeth Alba!

This contest is open internationally, for people 18 years of age or older. We’re doing the Rafflecopter thing, so see the widget below. Contest ends at 11:59pm eastern Saturday, January 12th.

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Notorious New England

“Notorious New England” by Summer Paradis and Sandra Vivian Graul opens with a definition of “Dark Tourism”.

Dark Tourism – noun – Dark tourism is the act of travel and visitation to sites, attractions, and exhibitions that have real or re-created death, suffering, or the seemingly macabre as a main theme.

And their book, subtitled “A Travel Guide to Tragedy and Treachery” certainly fits that description.

“Notorious New England” includes over 100 sites in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. Some locations are classics, such as The Lizzy Borden Bed and Breakfast in Massachusetts, but there are also many lesser known historical sites like Madame Sherri’s Castle in New Hampshire and The Witch’s Grave in Maine. There are also sites you may not have considered like Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut and the grave of Christa McAuliffe, the teacher who died in The Challenger explosion. “Notorious New England” is definitely a travel guide of tragedy.

Paradis and Graul treat all the locations with the utmost respect of the law and spiritual decency. Being paranormal investigators, they make sure to include notes on any supernatural occurrences. The book is loaded with full color photos, always a plus. Also, they include all kinds of travel tips for going to the locations, including great places to stop for lunch and other random businesses in the area of note.

“Notorious New England” is a bizarre mix of history, folklore, the paranormal, tragedy, and tabloid fodder. For me it inspired a lot of reflections, and a desire to road trip New England.

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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