As many of you know, it was established last year that I am the new Oprah, particularly when it comes to the task of favoriting things. That’s right, I said favoriting. That would be the act of naming something a favorite. Not just anyone can name something “favorite”, you know. Obviously I can, and last year I told Oprah to pack it in. Honestly, the fact that she did it again this year is a little wounding to my ego. However, I shall not let it keep me from doing the thing you’ve been waiting for all year….. announcing my Favorite Things of 2012!
Thanks to the folks at Skylight Press a favorite book of mine, and in my opinion an occult classic, got reprinted, “The Magical Battle of Britain”. Following Germany’s invasion of Poland, Dion Fortune, started a magical working by mail designed to stop Germany’s efforts to expand into Britain. “The Magical Battle of Britain” provides a rare glimpse into Fortune’s real world workings and a unique perspective of the war. “The Magical Battle of Britain” isn’t just a book that is owned, it is a book that is cherished.
Once Margaret Pearson Ph.D separated the core text from all its associated commentaries, she didn’t just have a nifty book about the I Ching on her hands, she had a revolution. “The Original I Ching: An Authentic Translation of the Book of Changes” shows an early China with an ungendered meaning of yin and powerful, authoritative women. Of course it also shows you how to work with the I Ching, and it does so in clear, easy to understand language. Any woman interested in learning more about the I Ching technique or history, or both, would do well to get “The Original I Ching”. In my mind, I view it as one of the great female empowerment works of the year.
I love it when things don’t conform to stereotypes. For instance, people talk about vegans as if they are walking killjoys. They’re gaunt hippies, reeking of incense, who live to hover over you and make you feel guilty about you and the “murders” you commit. (Which I already knew wasn’t true thanks to a few kick ass friends, but you know what I’m sayin’ people.) Thankfully there are folks like Brian Patton, aka “The Sexy Vegan” around to shake things up and step all over some of those lame, outdated stereotypes. Patton’s cookbook, “The Sexy Vegan Cookbook: Extraordinary Food from an Ordinary Dude”, is filled with good humor and recipes that can be enjoyed whether you’re a vegan or not. I just want to go on the record one more time that any man that can work even a single drop of rum into a breakfast recipe is all right in my book. (Sailor’s Oatmeal with Glazed Walnuts)
Again, I love to be surprised. When I had received a review copy of “Mystery Teachings from the Living Earth: An Introduction to Spiritual Ecology” by John Michael Greer I assumed I was in for a lot of the Earth has so much to teach us man. Instead what I found was one of the best introductions to the Western occult tradition in like, ever! I learned an important lesson about assuming from that book. Primarily that I don’t really have to admit to it in my book reviews!
He was on the list last year, he’s on the list this year. As long as Inner Traditions continues to publish his books here in the United States I imagine he will continue to show up on my favorites. He’s Claude Lecouteux and he’s written many of my favorite books, whether they’ve had the opportunity to show up on lists or not. Let’s focus on this year, shall we? This year we’re talking about “The Secret History of Poltergeists and Haunted Houses: From Pagan Folklore to Modern Manifestations.” Lecouteux is notoriously thorough and this book is no exception. You cannot discuss poltergeists or how people would rid themselves of poltergeists without first spending a chapter thoroughly pinning down the definition of poltergeist. Trust me, with Claude Lecouteux you’re in for an informative and entertaining ride with the subject matter.
I love tarot decks. I can’t imagine anyone who is interested in the occult that isn’t intrigued by the cards at least a little. Despite having only rudimentary knowledge and an utter lack of skill with tarot, I am fortunate enough to see plenty of tarot decks. I reviewed many this year and they were all so amazing, but there was one that spoke to me. I can’t fully explain, and maybe there are some tarot readers out there who can say this experience has happened to them, but this tarot deck just filled me with such awe and wonder it made want to work with it, right then, right that moment. It’s the “Ghosts & Spirits Tarot” by Lisa Hunt. Each card depicts a different spirit, ghost, or liaison between the earthly and spiritual realms from folklore and legend. The amount of research that went into the deck had to be dizzying. The artwork is beautiful and often brings a sense of light to darkened spirits. I loved the “Ghosts & Spirits Tarot” so much I bought a second deck signed by the creator/artist!
I was totally blown away by “Power Crystals: Spiritual and Magical Practices, Crystal Skulls, and Alien Technology” by John DeSalvo Ph.D This book has EVERYTHING you’d ever want to know about quartz, and as a fan of quartz that makes me happy. What it is, its history, how to care for it, its use in meditation, and more. Add to that a fascinating look at crystal skulls and you have a favorite of 2012. DeSalvo’s blend of science and spirituality appeals to both my skeptical brain and my seeker’s heart.
Joma Sipe’s occult bona fides are certainly in order. At fifteen he began studying Theosophy and the works of H.P. Blavatsky and Annie Besant, and from there Rudolf Steiner, P.D. Ouspensky and more. At seventeen Sipe got involved with a school called “The Gnostic Movement”. In his late twenties he practiced ritual and practical magic with another mystical school. Inspired by “Autobiography of a Yogi” Sipe traveled India learning about Hindu religion. At the same time he was reading Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now”, which then led him to study “A Course in Miracles”. Sipe takes that knowledge and funnels it into amazing works of art. Making “Soul of Light: Works of Illumination” a beautiful, stunning favorite of 2012.
I don’t know about any of you, but every now and then throughout the course of my life I’ve considered setting up or rearranging my home with the assistance of a Feng Shui book. Then you go to a book store and start flipping through some books on the subject and it’s huge, overwhelming, utterly complex……I think you get the idea. Then I got a review copy of “Feng Shui Your Life” by Jayme Barrett. It’s exhilarating! Everything is easy to understand, you’re given simple changes you can make right away, and you’re not made to feel as if doom awaits you if you can’t (or opt not to) make every change in the book. “Feng Shui Your Life” makes you want to immediately stop what you’re doing and start working your way through the book. I’ve never had a book about Feng Shui inspire that before, have you?
This last favorite is such a surprise that no one even knows I’ve read it yet! We’re coming up on the end of the year and that’s why now is the PERFECT time to pick up a copy of “Everyday Witch Book of Rituals” by Deborah Blake. Blake’s book features rituals for new and full moons, Sabbats, Handfastings, Wiccanings, Eldering/Cronings, Passing Over, and Rebirthings. Of course Blake wouldn’t just give you raw rituals and call it a day. “Everyday Witch Book of Rituals” discusses why we do rituals, appropriate etiquette when doing group rituals, how to convert rituals from group to lone practitioner and back again and more! Also, don’t fear, Magic the Cat makes many appearances. With everything you need for a year of magical ritual, and Deborah Blake’s good humor, NOW is the time for “Everyday Witch Book of Rituals”! Seriously. Go!
And there you have it folks, after much agonizing, list making, and debate, these are The Magical Buffet’s Favorite Things of 2012. So now go out and finish your holiday shopping, or perhaps do a little shopping for you. Be sure to tell the shopkeepers Rebecca sent you!