The Inner World of The Sacred World Oracle

I’m so happy! Why? Because I get to talk about “The Sacred World Oracle” which was created by Kris Waldherr. That name may sound familiar to long time Buffet readers because back in 2010 I reviewed Waldherr’s fantastic “Doomed Queens” playing cards deck and the “Ask the Queens Advice Deck”. Both were so beautiful, intelligent, and whimsical that when I saw “The Sacred World Oracle” I was eager to dive in.

Butterfly

Most of the art was adapted from Waldherr’s various books, particularly “Sacred Animals” and the accompanying calendar. The art of “The Sacred World Oracle” is beautiful and creates a magical landscape. This is definitely an oracle deck for those who feel an affinity with nature.

Dragon

The deck is comprised of 44 cards that are divided into 4 types: earth, air, fire, and water. Within each quadrant you’ll find animals (real, mythological, and folkloric). The included book provides you with meanings for these creatures. The book also includes a few spreads to try out. Of course my favorite thing is to draw a single card each morning and then see if the day lines up with the intentions set forth by the card.

Elephant

However you decide to use them, you should get “The Sacred World Oracle” and give them a try.

Salmon

Update I apparently misunderstood the about the art and text section of the booklet provided with the deck. There was a line that credited artists incorrectly that has now been deleted. ALL OF THE ART WAS DONE KRIS WALDHERR.

Yoga Styles: Discover the Practice for You

By Meagan McCrary

At first glance it appears that yoga is yoga is yoga, but take a closer look and you’ll discover a vast world of yoga systems and lineages, teaching methodologies and techniques, different practices and beliefs, and so forth and so on. Modern yoga has evolved into a myriad of styles, variations and combination of yoga practices, with more approaches being developed with each passing year. And while yoga is for everyone, not every style of yoga is: How do you know what style, or styles, of yoga is best for you?

The first step is to know your choices and understanding the difference between yoga styles. The second is to know what you are looking for in ways of a yoga practice. Consider your reasons for practicing; what would you like to gain from your time on the mat? Are you searching for a sweaty, dynamic (yet mindful) workout? Or are you more attracted to yoga’s restorative practices? Do you have any special needs or limitations? Would you prefer a class with personal attention? Or are you interested in some of the more traditional aspect of yoga? What excites you about yoga and, most importantly, what’s going to keep you coming back?

Below are a few key styles of yoga for you to familiarize yourself with what’s out there, but remember there’s a whole vast world of yoga styles and systems offering different experiences. What’s important is that if you’re in the know you can attend any yoga class you’d like with confidence.

Ashtanga: The Original Vinyasa Flow Yoga
Ashtanga yoga is a dynamic, physically demanding practice that synchronizes breath and movement, producing a strong internal heat as you move through a set sequence of postures. Originating with this style of yoga, vinyasa, which means “breathing-movement system,” forms the foundation of practice. Each movement is accompanied by one breath to create one system of breathing and moving, or one vinyasa. The method is a process of purification, heating the body and eliminating toxins and impurities through sweat. And sweat you will as you move briskly from one pose to the next to the rhythm of your own breath.

Side Note: Power yoga, vinyasa yoga and all of the flow variations of yoga were developed from Ashtanga yoga and based in the same vinyasa technique. The difference being that Ashtanga yoga has six set sequences of poses, and the majority of students only practice the first two series. The sequencing in vinyasa flow style yoga is very creative, taking your body on a challenging journey through a variety of postures.

Iyengar: Alignment-Based Yoga
Iyengar yoga is the practice of precision, paying close attention to the anatomical details and alignment of each posture. Rather than moving quickly from one pose to the next, postures are built methodically with acute concentration and held for longer periods of time while students receive individualized attention from the teacher. Iyengar teachers are very skilled at offering modifications for injuries and limitations, using props as necessary, making this style of yoga appropriate for just about everyone. Marked by discipline, the method systematically cultivates strength, flexibility, endurance and stability along with correct structural alignment and concentration.

Meagan McCrary

Kundalini: Energy-Focused Yoga
Kundalini yoga is a highly spiritual and dynamic practice aimed at expanding consciousness and increasing physical vitality by accessing and integrating prana (life-force energy) throughout the body. The method is multidimensional, using rhythm, movement, breath, and sound to effectively stimulate and shift your energy — something you can feel in your body. The practice alternates between active exercises (known as kriyas) and periods of relaxation, during which you’ll be guided to pay close attention to any internal sensations you’re experiencing. Beginner friendly, Kundalini yoga promotes a strong inward focus rather than outwardly perfecting the poses, promising that all you need to be able to do is breathe and move and you will have an energetic experience in your very first class.

Bikram: Hot Yoga
Bikram Yoga is a set sequence of 26 yoga postures done in 105-degree heat with 40 percent humidity for 90 minutes. The sequence is designed to systematically work every part of the body from the inside out. You will twist, churn, bend, bow and fold your way through postures, bringing fresh, oxygenated blood to every internal organ your body. The heat and humidity serve to speed up the body’s natural detoxifying process, sweating out toxins while boosting your heart rate. There is no flow between positions in Bikram yoga, each pose is performed twice and held from anywhere from 10-60 seconds. In the end, the practice is just as much an exercise in willpower as it is physical exertion.

One last word of advice: Take a few classes. Unless you absolutely hated the experience take a few different teachers before writing a system off. Finding a yoga teacher that you resonate with is just as important as finding the right style. Other than that, don’t be afraid to try something new, you may surprise yourself and end up falling in love with your yoga practice.

About Meagan McCrary:
Meagan McCrary is a Los Angeles based yoga teacher and the author of Pick Your Yoga Practice. She teaches for Equinox Sports Clubs, works one-on-one with some of the entertainment industries leading professionals, and holds workshops and retreats nationally and internationally. Visit her online at http://www.meaganmccrary.com.

Based on the book “Pick Your Yoga Practice” © 2013 by Meagan McCrary. Printed with permission of New World Library www.newworldlibrary.com

The Grateful Table

People always talk about developing an “attitude of gratitude”. Around Thanksgiving people countdown what they’re thankful for on Facebook, at the Thanksgiving dinner table they recount what they’re thankful for, or at the least take a moment count their blessings. Perhaps during Christmas while making charitable donation people spare a thought of gratitude that they’re not the ones in need this holiday season. Yet I would guess that’s the extent of gratitude the average person or family shares in a year.

What if there are was a way to exercise your gratitude muscles on a daily basis? Enter “The Grateful Table: Blessing, Prayers and Graces for the Daily Meal” by Brenda Knight.

Brenda Knight is on a mission to bring more happiness, more joy, and more gratitude to people’s lives. With her book, “The Grateful Table”, each day you’ll find a different quote from a wide variety of people, ranging from Neil Gaiman to Elizabeth Edwards and Ray Bradbury to Saint Issac of Ninevah. The author hopes you’ll gather around the table and share these daily thoughts until you start to feel that gratefulness every day.

Now as you know, with all things like this, I always check out my birthday for the example to share. So May 29th is “Thank you for the reflection of Your Smile in all we see.” – Kenneth Kurtz.

Who is Kenneth Kurtz? Honestly, I’ve got no clue. I emailed a couple of publicists, they had no clue. Googled Kenneth Kurtz, got a handful of results, none of them seemed right. So dear Magical Buffet readers, if you know who Kenneth Kurtz is, let all of us know in the comments!

Until then, perhaps you should consider “The Grateful Table”. A beautiful little book to help you be thankful all year round.

Moonlight Tarot’s Question Corner: Mystical Answers to Mundane Inquiries

By Angela Kaufman, Moonlight Tarot LLC

Happy 2014 readers! In spite of the dark and cold, January is a great month to be inspired. This month’s Querent, whom we will call Roland, is hoping to make 2014 the year for a big transition- moving to a new home. He wants to know if this will be the big year for this move and if any indication can be given as to direction/distance. For this domestic question I feel compelled to consult the charming retro Housewive’s Tarot.

While conducting the reading I sense a great deal of pressure and anxiety, as if this is matter involves some emotional turmoil. Roland’s three cards are the 6 of Swords, reversed, the Chariot, and the Seven of Swords reversed. When conducting a reading I strive to focus on empowerment rather than fatalistic yes-or-no perspectives. Having said this, my sense is that while Roland may come very close to his goal this year, it is strongly advised that he consider altering his time table. The resounding impression from this reading is reminiscent of the old saying “close but no cigar”. In Roland’s situation however it would be more appropriate to say “you will come close, there will be a cigar, but you will find it most unsavory”. Of course we can see why the latter never became a catching adage. What does this mean for Roland? Should he give up, or try harder? Many times foreknowledge of a situation can provide the opportunity to take different actions and affect change to the overall outcome, but there is no guarantee that this will always be the case. While these cards do not seem favorable for a move happening this year, they likewise do not suggest an outright lost cause.

The first card appears reversed and is the Six of Swords. If this card were right side up and further in placement in the reading it would suggest that Roland would be likely to relocate but that it would come as a compromise, not as his first option. Placed as it is, it suggests that Roland’s itch to move on involves a desire to start over and put a messy situation behind him. He is seeking resolution to a conflict but will not be likely to get his clean start right away. Something is getting in the way. He will be likely to put effort into his goal only to find numerous dead ends and detours along the way….for now. Roland should understand that this does not imply that he should cease his efforts. He may do well to revise his time frame or re-examine his motivation and strategy. This is not likely to be a smooth transition if he insists on pushing forward according to current plans. Also, part of the emotional resolution he is seeking through this transition is likely to allude him. To reference another saying, if Roland is assuming the grass will be greener in another’s yard, he is likely to find that the yard is slightly out of reach for now and even if he had the means to reach it, he would find it is not the solution he initially hoped for. This card is in the recent past position suggesting there has recently been a move or attempt which was not successful. An attempt to relocate may have already been put into motion and then reconsidered, foiled or suspended. In fact the idea of suspension is a theme in Roland’s reading as each card echoes this concept of stalemate.

The second and most significant of the three cards is the Major Arcana card, the Chariot, numbered 7. This card speaks to the soul of the matter. Roland feels mostly ready to move on and has resigned himself to making this transition but is not fully committed on some level to the steps that will be required. He has conflicting feelings that prevent him from taking the necessary actions to make this transition occur. There may be an additional burden that is not so easily relinquished. This may be a lease, mortgage, obligation to a particular location or some type of fear or doubt that keeps him harnessed in place in spite of some efforts to move forward. This is not defeat however. It simply suggests Roland has a little more work to do to prepare himself.

In spite of his determination this card suggests some indecision, even on a subconscious level. There is something of personal significance keeping Roland tied to his present residence. It is more than a financial matter, it is one of personal acceptance. He has not yet come to terms with exactly what this move will entail for him personally and thus has not yet made a full hearted commitment. It also feels like there is something he needs to let go of. In terms of location this card also suggests a difficult choice faced further into the year regarding two very opposite lifestyles or geographic directions, both seemingly equal in terms of attraction and repulsion. As much as Roland wants to move on he still appears to see himself as committed to a particular area and an opportunity is likely to arise that challenges his rootedness to a certain community. He will be challenged to decide between taking a bigger risk and moving farther than expected or remaining and waiting it out to see about future opportunities.

Extra baggage stands in the way of this transition. As the year unfolds, Roland is likely to develop some progress toward his goal and then within 7 weeks or months, find himself at an impasse. It seems more likely that within 2-3 years this move will take place rather than in the immediate future. Roland needs to spend some time searching his conscious and unconscious motivations for this transition and ensure that he is being realistic in his expectations. He will likely devote more energy to preparing for this transition this year rather than taking the action and making the move. This is still a sign of significant progress as he will be more than half way there and will be opening up to finishing stages of this process that propel him beyond the plateau in which he finds himself stuck.

The final card echoes the plateau message as it is another seven, the Seven of Swords, also reversed. This card being reversed suggests a resolution found but with patience and work, and a little more time. In its normal presentation, this card suggests futility and stagnation. Representing the future steps and in a reversed position however, its meaning suggests resolution after overcoming an initially futile attempt. It suggests that Roland is currently stuck and will need to focus the majority of his efforts this year on resolving the plateau he faces, but that by the end of the next 7-12 months he will identify factors that have been sabotaging his goal and will be actively engaged in overcoming these obstacles. This may involve paying off a debt or resolving an issue that was draining his finances. It may also involve taking measures to pursue his goal more efficiently as the current situation suggests his efforts are not representative of a full commitment. The obstacle he faces will be overcome but he needs to take different action and be mindful to not repeat processes that are time and energy consuming without yielding positive results. It seems that if Roland proceeds without overcoming the obstacle represented by the Chariot he will find himself placing much effort to no avail and somehow sacrificing more time, energy, and perhaps even money in the process. There is some aspect of the present situation that if it remains unchecked will be a drain on his progress in moving this year, or will ultimately sacrifice his true goal in the effort to make things happen without a solid base.

Overall the reading suggests progression toward Roland’s goal as the numbers proceed from six to seven and then the number seven is repeated. This suggests action taken and then a stalemate beyond the halfway mark. Either difficulty selling his home or leaving his lease, difficulty securing the final stages of the moving process or a misunderstanding or ambivalence toward the final stages of the move are likely obstacles. These obstacles can be overcome with different action and perhaps a slightly different attitude. When a reading yields a number of reversed cards, it suggests unfulfilled potential. Consider what can be done to “right” the reversals. What energy, resources, compromises or potential assistance is available but not being utilized? View the reversal not as a wall that stands in the way, but as an idea that is emerging but not yet complete. What additional touches are needed to take this idea and put it into action? Interestingly the cards that emerge suggest that the greatest difficulty Roland will face is one of inaction or inability to take action as he originally desired. Anticipating a delay, Roland can be empowered enlist his creativity and flexibility to consider his goal in a different light. If he remains true to the inspiration for his decision and commits himself to the end result he will be better able to navigate through delays in his plans.

There is excess baggage perhaps emotionally and materially, that he needs to resolve and let go of before his plans are able to be executed, as the Chariot is the one card which is upright as if it holds the two reversed cards in the balance. This suggests Roland is at a pivotal stage in his development and before he moves further he must resolve some issues that continue to keep him stuck. By doing so he deepens his commitment to his future life and is ready to leave behind what no longer serves his lifestyle. The reversed Seven of Swords also suggests potential delayed as it is the final card in the reading. If the first reversal in the past suggests an idea that is formulating but not yet complete, a future reversal suggests untapped potential that emerges gradually. Roland is likely to shed his burdens and move away from what has been draining him but it will take some time to go through this process. If he currently rents or owns a home it may take a seven month time period to resolve this burden and in the process he may find himself exerting energy and spending money in the process.

With an open mind and willingness to make the full mind/body commitment to this change Roland will move forward personally and in residence but it seems that this year there are plateaus to overcome at least for the majority of 2014. Best of luck Roland, bring your focus to the ultimate goal and keep your hope your goal is closer than you may realize even when obstacles come your way.

Remember no matter where you are reading this from, in accordance with NYS law all readings are for entertainment purposes only.

This month’s reading was conducted using the Housewive’s Tarot by Jude Buffum and Paul Kepple, Quirk Books November 2004. http://www.housewivestarot.com/. This deck is just too awesome to not check out, even if you don’t plan on reading cards yourself. Its vintage style and subtle humor is worth a glance.

Interested in being the Querent in next month’s column? Contact Angela at Trionfi78@gmail.com.

About Angela Kaufman:
Angela Kaufman has been exploring divination through Tarot cards for over a decade. She is a Certified Professional Tarot Reader and formed Moonlight Tarot in 2009 which would become Moonlight Tarot LLC in 2010. Angela uses the Tarot to assist clients in exploring personal growth and development, and in accordance with New York State Law offers readings for entertainment purposes. Angela began providing readings on a professional, “Moonlighting” basis in order to provide affordable readings to those seeking guidance, inspiration and fun. Angela is also co-author of the new book “Wicca, What’s the Real Deal? Breaking Through the Misconceptions.” And the newly released “Sacred Objects, Sacred Space, Everyday Tools for the Modern Day Witch” (Schiffer Publishing, 2011). In 2006 she joined ISIS Paranormal Investigations and has accompanied the team on numerous investigations in private residences and businesses throughout the capital region, Adirondacks, Vermont and Massachusetts.

For more information on services offered by Moonlight Tarot LLC, visit http://www.moonlighttarotllc.com

Forecast 2014: 11 Spiritual Trends Beyond the Shift

By Sara Wiseman

We had such high hopes for the Shift—the new age dawning in 2012 and continuing in 2013. And in fact, much of these did come true—these were heady years of releasing old patterns for most of us, especially old thought patterns contained in the collective soul.

In 2014, we’ll see more of this transition or Shift and much of it is very, very difficult for humankind, the animal and plant kingdom, and the earth itself—there is great chaos, disaster and suffering continuing this year. This is what happens when seven billion souls all attempt to wake up at the same time—many of us are grumpy at being shaken from the old dream, and many are not able to withstand the Shift at all.

Yet overall, 2014 is a gentler year. It’s as if we’ve actually evolved a little bit. We understand where we need to go, and even if we’re not there yet, at least we’re pointing in the right direction. We don’t live in fear the same way we used to.

In 2014, this much is true: the more you let go of the old paradigm, the more the new paradigm begins to show up in your life. Eleven signs to watch for:

1. Time shifts. You’ll notice that time isn’t running on the same schedule as it used to; you’ll experience great passages of “no time” or being unable remember time that has passed. Nowness becomes real.

2. Spiritual awakening. The great leap forward continues for millions. Many of you will begin to experience great passages of true awakening. This is worldwide.

3. A new healing emerges. The health insurance fiasco is a sign that we are moving from the fear and scarcity based systems of health, to a new way. Energy healing will become not just more mainstream, but more effective. The old models of illness are beginning to be released, even though we are still in early stages.

4. Food as medicine. The GMO battle is one of the most significant of our time. We begin to understand and fight for the value of food as medicine and our source of health.

5. The ocean calls for help. The oceans, rivers and other bodies of water continues to use their force in weather, disaster, and more to signal their great need for help.

6. The refugee becomes a symbol of our Oneness. What happens to the least of one, happens to all.

7. Transportation changes. Cars and oil dependency won’t be the same in five years.

8. Marijuana becomes legal in more states. This creates shifts that we won’t understand for another decade.

9. Human rights continue to be supported on all levels: civil, race, gender, age.

10. Child and teen leaders. The new generation speaks out as a force; watch for key martyrs and leaders such as Malala. The younger generations are communicating with each other, and waiting for their time to lead.

11. The wise elderly. Boomers begin to have enlightenment left and right. Their ability to release and wake up from old paradigms is astounding. Many will be heroic for coming generations; this may also happen in your own family.

About Sara Wiseman:
Sara Wiseman is a spiritual teacher and author of six enlightening books on spiritual intuition. She hosts the popular radio show Ask Sara, and is a regular contributor to DailyOM, Vivid Life and more. Visit her at www.sarawiseman.com

Sacred Objects, Sacred Space

“Sacred Objects, Sacred Space: Everyday Tools for the Modern-Day Witch” by Dayna Winters, Patricia Gardner, and Angela Kaufman isn’t necessarily a direct follow up to their first book “Wicca: What’s the Real Deal? Breaking Through the Misconceptions”, but if you were smart and followed my recommendation and bought their first book, this is an obvious “must buy”. For those of you who may need, or want, a bit more information than that, here we go.

The ladies (Winters, Gardner, and Kaufman) did it again. Just like “Wicca: What’s the Real Deal?”, “Sacred Objects, Sacred Space” manages to pack an insane amount of information into a compact little space. The writing never feels rushed or overwhelming, and yet in under 200 pages you will read about any tool you can imagine. Seriously! Here’s just a taste to get you going: potion bottles, cauldrons, poppets, Book of Shadows, candles, athame, mirrors, mala beads, singing bowls, and believe it or not, more! And with each item they discuss appropriate care, maintenance, and any cautions you need to be aware of with the item. I really enjoyed that with each item they also included craft ideas to decorate or personalize the items, or sometimes how to create the item from scratch.

But that’s just the objects part of “Sacred Objects, Sacred Space”. When it comes to spaces, they leave nothing out; living rooms, closets, dorm rooms, offices, balconies, bedrooms, gardens, and more. They cover the use of color in the home and creating your home altar.

If you want to know about everything that’s everything having to do with magical tools and spaces, “Sacred Objects, Sacred Space” is for you. Dayna Winters, Patricia Gardner, and Angela Kaufman (yes, of Moonlight Tarot) have created another book that seriously, honestly, and truly you should own. I hope they have another one in the works!

Geek Month in Review: December 2013

By JB Sanders

Snow!

Real Warp Drive
No, I’m not kidding. They’re working on it at NASA. It doesn’t break Einstein’s law of relativity, either.

One Drone to Rule Them All
This clever hacker has come up with a drone that seeks out other drones, hacks them mid-air, and then adds them to your robot army. Your flying robot army, obviously.

Oldest Human DNA Found: 400,000 Years Old
Yup, you read that number right. Some remains found in a Spanish cave gave up DNA, and it has some interesting thing to say. For one thing, it’s not Neanderthal, but a sister race much closer to the Denisovans (who were around about the same time). Who knows what else the DNA will give up?

Old Master’s Using Cameras to Paint?
So Johannes Vermeer is a Dutch painter who mastered a photo-realistic painting technique that was pretty amazing for 1653, and for a guy 21 years old. Did he secretly use a Camera Obscura to paint his masterpieces (now hanging in major museums)? Long article talking about the puzzle, and the documentary unraveling it by Penn & Teller.

An Object Impossible to Make, OK to Print
So these guys decided to create an object that could ONLY be created using a 3D printer, and they wanted to make it as complex as possible. Take a look at the video showing the sphere created entirely with interacting gears.

Mystery Object Blocks Tunnel Boring Machine
From the Writes Its Own Scifi Movie Department, we have some unidentified object blocking a tunnel boring machine under Seattle. This is a machine capable of breaking up boulders, mind you, so it’s a bit of a mystery as to what could be stopping it. Speculate away!

Modern-Day Castle, On Sale
Pretty nice little pad: it’s own footbridge at the entrance, crenelations, a jacuzzi, fireplaces, and a forest setting. What more could you ask for?

Where to Find a Lethal Dose of Neutrinos
Hint: not anywhere in this solar system. The creator of xkcd, the webcomic, takes a little time out of his busy humor schedule to answer random questions, the latest of which is “how close to a supernova would you have to be to get a lethal dose of neutrinos”? Fun science problem!

Star Wars Holiday Decorations — DIY
Want some nice cut-out snowflakes to hang up in your window, but you’re doing a Star Wars themed Christmas scheme? No worries! Here are instructions on creating those paper snowflakes with Yoda, Empire symbols, what have you.

Classic Computer Games of the 70s and 80s for Free!
The Internet Archive has rigged up a virtual-through-the-web system for playing classic video games of the 1970s and 1980s, including stuff from Atari 2600, Colecovision, and Magnavox Odyssey. Enjoy!

About John:
John’s a geek from way back. He’s been floating between various computer-related jobs for years, until he settled into doing tech support in higher ed. Now he rules the Macs on campus with an iron hand (really, it’s on his desk).

Geek Credentials:
RPG: Blue box D&D, lead minis, been to GenCon in Milwaukee.
Computer: TRS-80 Color Computer, Amiga 1000, UNIX system w/reel-to-reel backup tape
Card games: bought Magic cards at GenCon in 1993
Science: Met Phil Plait, got time on a mainframe for astronomy project in 1983
His Blog: http://glenandtyler.blogspot.com

Creature Book Double Feature

When we interviewed Varla Ventura for the website, it was primarily in regards to her role as the curator for a line of ebooks for Red Wheel/Weiser Publishing. After reading her two latest books, “Among the Mermaids: Facts, Myths, and Enchantments from the Sirens of the Sea” and “Banshees, Werewolves, Vampires and Other Creatures of the Night: Facts, Fictions, and First-Hand Accounts”, I can safely say is curating is what Ventura does best.

In a paranormal landscape where it may feel like you’ve read every bit of trivia and tale about vampires and werewolves, Ventura manages to find fresh new takes on the subject matter. And let’s face it, how often does anyone talk about banshees? She even discusses a few other rarely touched upon creatures like Pookas and Changelings. The back of “Banshees, Werewolves, Vampires and Other Creatures of the Night” has a huge list of resources such as books, movies, and websites where you can learn more.

For as cool as that was, “Among the Mermaids” is, for me, a million times cooler. I have always been fascinated by mermaids and sirens. Other than a passage here or there in a paranormal or creature encyclopedia I had never found much reading about them. Then Varla Ventura comes along with “Among the Mermaids”, a whole book devoted to merrows, mermaids, and sirens. Again, Ventura finds legends and factoids that you’ll never find anywhere else! At the end, you not only find resources such as movies and books, but also shopping. Looking for mermaid art or jewelry? There are links for that! Looking for your very own, custom made mermaid tale? There are links for those too!

As I said at the start, curating is what Varla Ventura does best and the wonderful work she did with these two books proves it. Both books are filled with unique myths and facts that make these must haves for lovers of legend.

10 Questions with Peter Voelker

1. What is mead?
In short, mead is any fermented alcoholic beverage made using honey as the primary fermentable.

2. What makes Helderberg Mead different from other meads?
Most mead that you can buy in the wine stores around here either tastes like a low alcohol honey syrup or a nice soft white wine. While there’s nothing wrong with that (I love a nice Vidal Blanc), HMW takes a different approach. We use techniques that would have been used many moons ago and produce a mead that has big, bold and feral qualities to it. We’ve adapted old world methods to modern day sanitation and palettes without catering to any particular group of consumers. This is mead as we think it should be. With that said, there are 2 major differences between HMWs mead and others. The first is our alcohol content, which has a range on the label of 15% to 16%. Our current “Burgundy Wax” batch is at the high side of that range. Most others are from 8% to 11%. The second difference is our use of oak aging. Back in the days before metals were commonly available, oak would have been the preferred storage vessel for nearly all drinks. We have taken this concept and applied it to our mead. The result is a powerful mead (shouldn’t all traditional mead be POWERFUL?) with a whiskey-like nose and great honey flavor without being overly sweet.

3. Why did you decide to start selling your mead to the public?
After making mead for myself over the past 15 years or so, I was still very disappointed in the lack of commercial meads choices. They are all in the same family of taste, where ours is completely different. The initial investment to start small was small enough that we could finance it ourselves. Our hope all along was that there would be enough people out there who truly appreciate it for what it is. There are always those who are stuck in their little boxes, but it’s those who taste it and say “wow!” who make it worthwhile! Along with that, I also did not want to look back 10 years from now and wonder why I didn’t even try to go full production commercial.

4. Helderberg Meadworks makes several different varieties of mead. Can you explain their differences?
a. Heritage – this is our traditional mead, sometimes referred to as a “show mead” because it’s nothing more than honey and water. Sometimes the simple recipes are the most difficult to achieve because they hide NOTHING in other flavors.
b. Apple – A cyser in meadspeak. We have always been a fan of cysers. Prior to going commercial our second best mead was our own cyser, so logically this would be our next production mead. Introduced in October, the response has been outstanding!
c. Maple (TBD) – This is a mead that is still in the approval process. Following all appropriate federal and state regulations, we have numerous steps of approval before being able to sell it. Suffice it to say though, that we at HMW took a step back and looked at what we enjoy. We like NY and the northeast. We already have an apple mead, so the next step was to look at what else is something of a local pride product. Maple syrup! We are working with a local maple syrup producer to find the best tasting syrup to use in the production of our Maple Mead. Test batches of it are outstanding. Imagine the flavor of our mead followed by maple syrup filling your mouth without all the sweetness of drinking syrup.
d. ?????? Mead. This is going to be something rarely, if ever, done at production levels in the USA. I’m keeping it under wraps for now but it is very difficult to make and will be very unique. I hope to have it available by Fall 2014.

5. What’s the best way to drink mead; chilled, over iced, etc.?
Yep. 😀 Consumer’s choice. Our mead is an “outside the box” beverage so there really are no confines to how you are supposed like it. We encourage people to experiment and see how they like it best. Our preference? The Heritage at room temperature and the apple mead served COLD.

6. How does mead pair with food?
It makes an excellent marinade.

This is a difficult question to answer. We try to steer clear of questions that would be typical when discussing a wine. When we do festivals and tastings, we tell people to try it first THEN tell us what they think it would pair best with. The responses we get from people after they try it are all over the map with respect to what they would pair it with. Some find it as an after dinner honey port. Some think it’s great with poultry, others with a grilled steak. The best thing people can do is try it and decide for themselves. We always post when and where people can find and taste our mead before buying it, so watch our Facebook page if you want to try before you buy.

7. Your meadery has an awesome logo which is not only on your bottles but also on some cool looking t-shirts. How did the logo come about?
I have a friend in Maine who is a graphic designer, Jen Goodwin of Goodwin Glass and Graphics. She had done some of my homebrew mead labels for fun in the past, so I knew I wanted her to design the Heritage label. I gave her some of my ideas and things that I didn’t want. One of which was a Viking image. She sent me some design ideas, all of which were great but somehow didn’t strike me enough. Then she said she had a surprise with the caveat of “I know we weren’t going to use…” and it was done. That was design awesomeness right there. It set our mead apart on the shelf and gave us a whole design concept to work with. It’s a great mead and she gave us the look that gets people to notice it among the other bottles.

8. When not drinking mead, what do you enjoy drinking?
We like local wines and spirits above all. This is the hardest question to answer because there are too many to list! Some of our favorites are KyMar Mapple Jack, Thousand Islands Winery Frontenac (with a shot of cognac), Brimstone Hill Vidal Blanc, Bootlegger 21 Vodka, Warwick Valley Gin, Brookview Station Baco Noir and Cassis Port. We have a long standing favorite with Leonard Kreusch Kabinett Riesling. Plus I have a current fascination with absinthe on top of all that.

9. What’s next for Helderberg Meadworks?
Co-owner Kirsten is developing her own signature mead. All options are on the table for that! We are very excited about it.

Our ????? mead and of course more expansion! Every penny earned is invested back into the meadery. This winter we will be adding new and much larger tanks. Our production goal that we had planned on reaching at the 5 year mark will be achieved in year 2. It’s an amazing accomplishment and it reassures us that there are still people out there who can appreciate a quality craft.

10. Parting shot! Ask us here at The Magical Buffet any one question.
Just 1? I have to ask – what was it that drew your attention to our mead?

We at HMW are always looking for ways to reach great people that may not know about us and learning about our customers helps us to reach them better!

I got to try your mead at the New York State tastings at Exit 9 Wine and Liquor Warehouse. I enjoyed it and took your business card with me. At this point I’ve tried your Apple Mead and your Heritage Mead and they were both DELICIOUS!

About Peter Voelker and Helderberg Meadworks:
Helderberg Meadworks is one of a precious few “meaderies” in the state who only produce mead. Owner and meadmaker Peter Voelker has been making a variety of meads for many years. In 2010 he decided to open the meadery with his wife Kirsten to share what he considers the best mead in the country.

Our philosophy is to create a mead that is as close as possible to mead that may very well have been made hundreds, and even thousands of years ago, while using modern equipment and methods. We use minimal sulfites and minimal production handling. This means that each batch is unique. Every harvest of local honey is different, so every batch will taste a bit different. In order to differentiate batches for our customers, we plan to use a different color wax top.

Moonlight Tarot’s Question Corner: Mystical Answers to Mundane Inquiries

By Angela Kaufman, Moonlight Tarot LLC

What better way to spend December than keeping warm with the comfort of animal companions? This month’s querent, who will be referred to as Arthur, writes in asking a question about his feline companion Tiger. Arthur states that since given the opportunity to work from home, he is often visited by his cat Tiger who appears to gaze directly into his eyes as if he were longing to communicate, but Arthur is not sure what Tiger is trying to tell him. He feels this is more than the typical “feed me, pet me, clean my box” communication as his cat seems to be deep in thought when he does this. This months’ reading is on behalf of Tiger and Arthur, to help unlock the doors to communication.

While conducting this reading I didn’t focus so much on Arthur, the human in the relationship, but rather shuffled the cards focusing on the energy of Tiger as it seems he has something important to say. While focusing on Tiger’s energy several impressions emerged. There is a strong sense of approval seeking, Tiger is looking to Arthur to acknowledge his behavior and how well he does his “job” which is very important to him. Tiger is protecting the home and family and wants Arthur to see that although sometimes he gets a little carried away with his playful antics he is, overall, very serious about his work. He also sees Arthur as the CEO to whom he reports and receives his “instructions” for what he needs to do. His role is to look out for the people and animals in the home and to be on alert for trouble. There was also a strong impression of pride and desire for others to be proud of him as well.

Tiger’s reading brings three cards, The World, numbered 21, the Queen of Leaves, and the 6 of Bells which appeared reversed. Arthur’s assumption that Tiger’s communication was of importance is validated here as a Major Arcana card is part of this reading. This affirms that Tiger is trying to share something more than daily cat chat. First and foremost, Tiger is maturing. He is reaching a stage of his life in which he has accomplished many achievements and is likely to be getting along in years or at least reaching seniority and this is important to him. It is important in one sense because he wants his seniority to count for something among his humans. One way that human concepts like social democracy confuse our furry companions lies in our cultural values around equality and sharing. Tiger has no problem sharing and sees himself as generous, but it is in his nature as a cat to take hierarchy more seriously than his human buddies may realize. Therefore it is important for his seniority to be respected- certain treats or privileges given too freely among other cats in the household challenge this order that he feels he has established. He therefore asks to keep in mind the social dynamics among cats in the household and his need for certain territories or routines that were his first to be respected as such. He does not seem greedy, but rather seems to want acknowledgement of his unique position as senior cat. Whether by setting aside certain treats as his, or given to him first then to the others, or allowing that not all toys and territories are equal, would show him recognition of his role as in charge of the cats.

The World

The other significant aspect of the World card for Tiger reflects his personal maturity. He seems proud of an accomplishment and wants to make sure it is known that he is doing his best. This accomplishment may involve four stages or have four aspects or may be in relation to four other people or animals- but it seems that he is achieving a higher degree of balance and harmony and that this has been a real accomplishment for him. In human culture, it would be the equivalent of either a graduation or retirement. He has accomplished a milestone of development and wants it known that he is doing his best to not regress.

It is also no surprise that Arthur perceives something unique in Tiger’s insistence on eye contact. The Queen of Leaves is the diplomatic spokeswoman conveying her ideas and thoughts eloquently and directly. Her appearance in the reading shows that Tiger is in fact trying to be mindful of how he communicates. He has toned down his approach but is asking for undivided attention. He is conveying that he does not require excessive coddling but does want lines of communication to be open- eye contact is a big part of this- he also may lean more toward telepathic communication than other animals in the home who may be more demonstrative with their messages. He is definitely a thinking cat and is curious and in need of mental stimulation. He wants to be kept informed even if plans or routines do not involve him. He sees himself as a manager in the household, not the top manager but second in command and it is important to relay information to him. He appreciates that Arthur talks freely to him but also wants Arthur to know that he is in a sense “talking” back- especially when he insists on eye contact. He also seems to want a bit more cognitive stimulation- hunting games or activities that allow him to safely express his inquisitive nature would be appreciated.

Finally, the 6 of Bells, reversed suggests that part of the communication is open ended and represents an issue not yet resolved. Tiger seems to be concerned about a need for balance when it comes to territory or tangible items of importance to him. These may be toys, treats or items that would be considered like money in cat world. He feels as though something was taken from him- perhaps territory that he is used to- he feels a loss of balance in the hierarchy regarding his possessions or food and is waiting for Arthur to “repay” him. He feels Arthur can rebalance this discrepancy and he gives this a focus much like people would give in matters of justice or conflict resolution. It seems Tiger is looking to Arthur to rebalance the scales in his favor and in some manner express to other members of the household that certain territories, food, or treats are for Tiger reserved for Tiger.

Best of luck Arthur, and Tiger, thank you for the privilege of allowing readers a Tarot fueled glimpse into your world. Remember, whether you walk on two legs or four, all readings are intended for entertainment purposes only in accordance with NYS law.

Interested in being the Querent in next month’s column? Ask your human to contact Angela at Trionfi78@gmail.com.

This month’s reading was conducted using the beautiful and whimsical Fairy Tarot, by Antonio Lupatelli and Lo Scarabeo, published by Llewellyn. For more information on this deck visit http://www.loscarabeo.com/lang-en/tarocchi-artistici/12-i-tarocchi-dei-folletti.html

About Angela Kaufman:
Angela Kaufman has been exploring divination through Tarot cards for over a decade. She is a Certified Professional Tarot Reader and formed Moonlight Tarot in 2009 which would become Moonlight Tarot LLC in 2010. Angela uses the Tarot to assist clients in exploring personal growth and development, and in accordance with New York State Law offers readings for entertainment purposes. Angela began providing readings on a professional, “Moonlighting” basis in order to provide affordable readings to those seeking guidance, inspiration and fun. Angela is also co-author of the new book “Wicca, What’s the Real Deal? Breaking Through the Misconceptions.” And the newly released “Sacred Objects, Sacred Space, Everyday Tools for the Modern Day Witch” (Schiffer Publishing, 2011). In 2006 she joined ISIS Paranormal Investigations and has accompanied the team on numerous investigations in private residences and businesses throughout the capital region, Adirondacks, Vermont and Massachusetts.

For more information on services offered by Moonlight Tarot LLC, visit http://www.moonlighttarotllc.com