The Teenage Slasher Movie Book

I don’t know if you’ll find this surprising or not, but I do not watch horror movies. I just can’t handle it, they stick with me way too long. That said, I love reading about horror movies. I go online and read plot summaries, analysis, and reviews for tons of horror movies. Weird, right? I just feel the genre has a lot to offer. That’s why I agreed to read and review the 2nd revised and expanded edition of “The Teenage Slasher Movie Book” by J.A. Kerswell. I will admit that I don’t normally look into the slasher subgenre, but just like the rest of the horror genre, the author showed me there are surprises to be found there.

Have you heard of the gory, Italian, thrillers known as giallos? I hadn’t, but it turns out they played a huge role in the eventual teenage slasher film. I had no idea that many popular slasher movies came from Canada! Sure, now it seems all movies come from Canada, but the late 70’s, I had no clue. Also, I didn’t realize that Britain had previewed and censored all videos being released in the country. This delayed the release of many slasher movies in the country.

Kerswell does an excellent job condensing the history and works of the genre into a fast paced read. He succeeds in striking the balance of treating the subject matter seriously while acknowledging how silly it can all be.

With Kerswell’s authoritative writing and a dizzying amount of full color photos from films and movie posters, I can safely say “The Teenage Slasher Movie Book” is a great resource for anyone interested in horror films.

You can learn more here.

10 Questions with Amy Blackthorn

1. How did you get started with essential oils?

I started with essential oils after about ten years of practicing magic and had just gotten started in my horticulture studies program. I was looking for a way to work with the plant materials I was studying on a year-round basis, but also to preserve the materials I had an abundance of. I headed to my local natural foods cooperative and found a rack of essential oils and dove right in. The history of the materials as they related to the history of perfumery really enticed me, so I grabbed every book I could find, non-fiction and even a fiction book called, ‘Perfume: The Story of a Murderer’ by Patrick Suskind and John E. Woods.

2. What made you decide to write a book on the subject?

It’s funny what makes each person write, isn’t it? I decided to write a book on the subject of aromatherapy after a death in my extended family. It was a great aunt whom I had never met and was already elderly when I was born. I returned to the family’s Catholic church where my mom grew up to attend the church service for this woman my mother had loved, but I had never encountered.

I arrived before my mother, but after my uncle’s family who were no longer Catholic but had converted to another sect of Christianity. I was a little anxious that my aunt would cause a scene about my being in a church as my family knew I was a Witch and had caused a scene at a previous family funeral. The longer I sat there, the more anxious I got.

Until they wheeled the casket in, with the attendants, and the priest. Suddenly, I was as calm as I’d ever been, I was centered, I was focused and I was ready for a ritual. It was as though someone had thrown a switch in my brain. It took a good minute for me to piece it together.

You see, in my very first coven, my high priestess was raised Catholic. So before every ritual (every full moon, and 8 holy festivals a year), we cleansed our ritual room with frankincense and myrrh, the same incense she had growing up in the Catholic church, and the same incense I encountered that day. My brain didn’t know the difference. My brain just knew it was time for a religious observance and switched gears on me without me having to think about it. I signed up for a clinical aromatherapist program the next day and started writing about my experiences with scent that night.

3. You have a company, Blackthorn Hoodoo Blends, that creates blends of teas. Why tea?

I started working with tea six years before I launched my company because I feel that tea speaks to the soul of people in a way that nothing else does. Tea is comprised of the vital nature of the plants. When you pour that water over the leaves you can’t help but take a deep breath. My aim in taking that time is to encourage people to turn their morning ritual into a ritual.

I had just left a toxic job at a security firm and I knew that if I was going to move on to the next thing successfully, I needed to make room for it in my life. I needed to clear out the baggage left behind by the old job. Anyone who has ever had to put in their two weeks notice knows how that feels.

My first morning as a joyfully unemployed woman, I knew I had to get back to the roots of my magic to make that room. I dug out the big cauldron that I burn my candles in (fire safety!) and my bottle of Vanvan oil for clearing out junk and bringing new opportunities your way. I thought this must be one of the fastest spells I’ve ever worked because the doorbell rang before I even lit the candle. I laughed all the way back to the kitchen after signing for a package from the postal worker.

Then the funniest thing happened. When I got back to the kitchen, I went to light my candle and I was overwhelmed by the scent of the lemongrass in the oil and all I could think to myself was, “If only I had a tea to sip while my candle burned, I could keep working on my working while the candle burned and did its job.” and Blackthorn Hoodoo Blends was born. A week later I had 15 blends, and now four years later I have over 55.

4. How do you go about creating a tea?

When I go about creating a tea, we have the genesis, an old hoodoo formula I’ve been making into oils for twenty years, ‘Justice, Power, and Peace’ is similar to my recipes for empowering blends like Just Judge and Boss Fix. It’s hard to do 1 to 1 recipe because the oil recipes call for things that aren’t edible, so I have to go back to my other materials, recipes and notes to help inspire me for things that have the same power, use and intent to get the job done. Run Devil Run, for example, nothing in that recipe is edible, but the banishing power of black pepper makes for an incredibly powerful banishing tea, and since black pepper makes sweet things taste sweeter it has a great flavor profile and is an easy drinking tea without the added sugar. You can drink these teas just because you want something good in your body. Magic is all about your intent so you can tap into the intent behind these blends, or you can just enjoy some Money Draw tea because it tastes like a popular fruity breakfast cereal.

5. Ever notice how things meant to clear negative energies stink? Do you think smelly is just a universal repellant? (because that’s my super scientific working theory)

A lot of people talk about how materials meant to clear negative energies to stink, but the stink is in the eye (nose?) of the beholder. There are two schools of thought here. The popular school of thought is that the stink will drive the nasty spirit back to where it belongs, and keep it away from you, and your home. The lesser known school of thought is that working with smells that the end user finds pleasant is infinitely more effective, for a few reasons, A) they’re more likely to use it. It can’t work if it just sits on the shelf. B) they’ll enjoy using it, therefore creating a happy environment which is more difficult for a nasty spirit to cling to. C) You’re more likely to ‘vibe’ with something that’s going to work with you anyway.

6. Given how stressful life seems to be for everyone lately, what are some aromas you’d suggest to help us all chill out?

Chill out, Cheer Up!
3 drops grapefruit essential oil (Citrus paradisi) to heal, protect, renew
3 drops lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia) for harmony, peace, strength
3 drops peppermint essential oil (Mentha piperita) to purify, release, lift spirits
2 tablespoons witch hazel

Place essential oils and witch hazel in a 2-ounce pump spray bottle. Cap it and give it a good shake. Unscrew the cap and fill it the rest of the way with cool water. Spritz well and often to banish melancholy and irritability and bring peace and centering.

7. What advice would you offer to someone looking to start working with essential oils?

Research, take classes online, or with an instructor. You can never know too much about this. It can seem overwhelming. Instead of buying a kit with 10 or twenty oils in it and trying to learn them all, pick three and learn everything you can about those three. Use them for cleaning your kitchen counters or for magic. Use them for everything the books tell you it’s safe to, but know those three inside and out, before adding another. Just keep it simple and you’ll keep yourself from getting overwhelmed. You can do a thousand things with one oil and this book.

8. What are some things people should look for when shopping for essential oils, particularly if shopping online?

Look out for clear bottles, that means they’re likely fragrance oils. The same goes for if the oils are all the same price. If the company offers a lot of organic essential oils, that’s a good sign, but you’re going to pay a lot for the option. If you’re looking to buy oils that are really expensive, melissa, rose, jasmine, sandalwood etc, get the smallest quantity you can buy and quality test it yourself at home. Put a drop of oil on a piece of watercolor paper. Come back twenty-four hours later. Is there red dye smeared on the paper from the rose oil? There shouldn’t be. Does the paper look like someone carried home french fries from the local greasy spoon? It shouldn’t. (For more info on quality testing at home there’s a chapter in the back of Blackthorn’s Botanical Magic.)

9. What’s next? Do you have any projects my readers can look forward to?

I’m happy to say that I’m back working with Weiser on my next book! They’re so great to work with, I just couldn’t stay away. I can’t say what it is just yet, but fans of this book will be dying to get their hands on this next book.

10. Parting shot! Ask us here at The Magical Buffet any one question.

What’s your favorite sense memory related to this time of year?

It’s not tied to a specific fall memory, but kind of general amalgamation of memories. Thanksgiving dinner cooking smells. That warm, toasty kitchen filled with the aroma of roasted turkey and the fixings. I don’t take the holiday seriously because let’s face it, Thanksgiving is a horrible lie because our ancestors were total dicks to the Native Americans, but the food. Oh the food.

About Amy Blackthorn:
Amy Blackthorn has been described as an “arcane horticulturalist” for her lifelong work with magical plants and teaching of hoodoo. She incorporates her experiences in British Traditional Witchcraft with her horticulture studies. She is a clinical aromatherapist and is ordained. Amy’s company, Blackthorn Hoodoo Blends, creates tea based on old hoodoo herbal formulas. She lives in Delaware. Visit her at www.amyblackthorn.com and https://blackthornhoodooblends.com

The Instrument of Freedom

An excerpt from The Meaning of Happiness by Alan Watts

We have examined something of the meaning of unhappiness, of the war between the opposites in the human soul, of the fear of fear, of man’s consequent isolation from nature, and of the way in which this isolation has been intensified in the growth of civilization. We have also shown how man is intimately and inseparably connected with the material and mental universe, and that if he tries to cut himself off from it he must perish. In fact, however, he can only cut himself off in imagination, otherwise he would cease to exist, but we have yet to decide whether this elusive thing called happiness would result from acceptance of the fact of man’s union with the rest of life. But if this is true we have to discover how such an acceptance may be made, whether it is possible for man to turn in his flight into isolation and overcome the panic which makes him try to swim against the current instead of with it. In the psychological realm this swimming against the current is called repression, the reaction of proud, conscious reason to the fears and desires of nature in man. This raises the further question of whether acceptance of nature involves just a return to the amorality of the beast, being simply a matter of throwing up all responsibility, following one’s whims, and drifting about on the tide of life like a fallen leaf. To return to our analogy: life is the current into which man is thrown, and though he struggles against it, it carries him along despite all his efforts, with the result that his efforts achieve nothing but his own unhappiness. Should he then just turn about and drift? But nature gave him the faculties of reason and conscious individuality, and if he is to drift he might as well have been without them. It is more likely that he has them to give expression to immeasurably greater possibilities of nature than the animal can express by instinct, for while the animal is nature’s whistle, man is its organ.

Even so, man does not like to be put down to the place of an instrument, however grand that instrument may be, for an instrument is an instrument, and an organ does what it is made to do as subserviently and blindly as a whistle. But this is not the only consideration. It may be that man has a wrong idea of what his self is. In the words of the Hindu sage Patanjali, “Ignorance is the identification of the Seer with the instruments of seeing.” Certainly man as instrument is an obedient tool whether he likes it or not, but it may be that there is something in man which is more than the instrument, more than his reason and individuality which are part of that instrument and which he mistakenly believes to be his true self. And while as an instrument he is bound, as this he is free, and his problem is to become aware of it. Finding it, he will understand that in fleeing from death, fear, and sorrow he is making himself a slave, for he will realize the mysterious truth that in fact he is free both to live and to die, to love and to fear, to rejoice and to be sad, and that in none of these things is there any shame. But man rejects his freedom to do them, imagining that death, fear, and sorrow are the causes of his unhappiness. The real cause is that he does not let himself be free to accept them, for he does not understand that he who is free to love is not really free unless he is also free to fear, and this is the freedom of happiness.

About Alan Watts:
Alan Watts (January 6, 1915 – November 16, 1973) was a British-born American philosopher, writer, speaker, and counterculture hero, best known as an interpreter of Asian philosophies for a Western audience. He wrote over 25 books and numerous articles applying the teachings of Eastern and Western religion and philosophy to our everyday lives.

Excerpted from the book “The Meaning of Happiness: The Quest for Freedom of the Spirit in Modern Psychology and the Wisdom of the East”. Copyright ©2018 by Joan Watts and Anne Watts. Printed with permission from New World Library — www.newworldlibrary.com.

Think Before You Pink 2018

If you’ve been following The Magical Buffet for a while you know that I am a big supporter of Breast Cancer Action. They understand that the issue of cancer is more than just a matter of health policies, but also environmentalism and social justice. They accept no donations from corporations and do real work that potentially helps everyone. That’s why every year I highlight their “Think Before You Pink” campaign. Take a moment to read this press release they sent me for this year’s campaign and if so moved, take action yourself.

This week Breast Cancer Action, the respected watchdog for the breast cancer movement, launched their “Put the Brakes on Breast Cancer” campaign on day one of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In an open letter in the Detroit Free Press today, they also issued a direct challenge to the CEO and Executive Chairman of Ford Motor Company, demanding they “Go Further” than their Warriors in Pink program by ending production of vehicles that increase the risk of breast cancer.

Today, marks both the first day of Breast Cancer Industry (aka Awareness) Month and the 100th anniversary of Ford’s Model T, the first mass-marketed automobile. Breast Cancer Action’s executive director, Karuna Jaggar, says: “On the 100th anniversary of the introduction of the Model T, we’re calling on Ford to bring an all-electric fleet to the masses.”

“Earlier this year, Ford announced plans to go full-throttle on sales in the U.S. of trucks and SUVs, which are some of Ford’s highest emission vehicles. Ford is trying to tell us that they care about breast cancer, but in reality they’re making business decisions that will increase our exposure to chemicals that cause breast cancer. We call this pinkwashing,” said Jaggar.

Some of the first chemicals identified by researchers as increasing the risk of breast cancer are found in the exhaust from combustion engines: carcinogens and hormone disruptors such as benzene, 1,3-butadiene, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Benzene is such a potent mammary carcinogen that it has been linked to breast cancer in men. The 2009 President’s Cancer Panel recommended limiting exposure to auto exhaust, noting that cars, trucks, and other passenger vehicles “are responsible for approximately 30 percent of cancer resulting from air pollution.”

In April of this year, Ford announced they will almost exclusively sell SUVs and trucks in the U.S., which have less-regulated emissions. They will also launch a new diesel version of the F-150 truck. Meanwhile, they will stop selling their zero emission, 100 percent electric vehicle, and nearly all their other lower emission passenger cars. “Diesel is enriched with nitro PAHs,” notes Jaggar. “This means now the F-150, America’s best-selling truck, is offered with even more potent mammary carcinogens.”

Attempting to brush aside criticism for these recent announcements, Ford is publicizing plans for future investment in electrification—nearly all of which will be in China, due to higher regulation standards. At a major auto show in the U.S. earlier this year, Ford notably failed to showcase any electric vehicles. Additionally, Ford has been lobbying the Trump administration to lower emission standards in the U.S.

“Breast cancer is a public health crisis and a social justice issue,” said Jaggar. “We can’t afford to hold our breath and hope Ford’s promise of new, cleaner vehicles will come to the U.S. sometime down the road. Instead of pinkwashing and platitudes, Ford can “Go Further” by making the shift to 100 percent zero emission vehicles now.”

Ford’s Warriors in Pink program sells branded clothes and other gear in order to raise money for four breast cancer charities. But Jaggar said, “We see through the pink-tinted smoke screen of Ford’s Warriors in Pink. This is a just feel-good attempt by Ford to distract attention away from their role in driving up the risk of breast cancer.”

Everyone in the U.S. is exposed to Ford’s auto exhaust, whether or not they drive a Ford vehicle. As one of the Big Three automobile manufacturers in the U.S., Ford is in a position to make a big difference in reducing cancer rates by making clean vehicles.

“One hundred years ago, Ford made its name by bringing the Model-T to the masses,” said Jaggar. “Now it’s time for Ford to bring an all-electric fleet to the masses. By turning away from cancer-causing combustion engines and towards zero emission cars and trucks, Ford can truly help put the brakes on the breast cancer epidemic. After all, the best way to fight cancer is to prevent it in the first place.”

Breast Cancer Action’s “Put the Brakes on Breast Cancer” campaign is supported by more than 14 health and environmental justice organizations, and is Breast Cancer Action’s 2018 Think Before You Pink® campaign. Since 2002, when Breast Cancer action coined the term pinkwashing, they have been demanding transparency and accountability in breast cancer marketing and pink ribbon promotions.

Find out more at http://www.bcaction.org.

10 Years Baby!

Buckle up folks because I’m about to say something that will blow your mind.

The Magical Buffet turns 10 years old this month. 10 years! Mind. Blown.

There is a lot of cool stuff with this 10 year anniversary. In case you hadn’t noticed, we have a shiny new website! After nearly 10 years our site now plays nice with smartphones and tablets, as well as the good ol’ desktop. And yet, comments still don’t work. The more things change, the more they stay the same, right? So you’ll need to show your love and share your thoughts on our articles by visiting The Magical Buffet’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram accounts.

Along with our shiny new site, you’ll notice there is now a Shop category. That’s right, we’ve got merchandise! And not some lame-o self-promotion stuff, but things that hopefully you will think are cool and be proud to wear or welcome into your home. Here’s a few of those items in my home!

Medusa is my Homegirl Tri-Blend Tee.
When in Doubt, Quartz! Pint Glass holding my stones.
Sage that Shit! mug holding my smudge stick.

Want to see more? Visit our store!

Obviously I wouldn’t be typing this if not for the support of all the readers, publicists, authors, and publishers that think The Magical Buffet has something to offer people. And honestly, I can’t come up with words to thank you all for your support, enthusiasm, and patience. I continue to struggle with my headaches and my health affects every aspect of my life, The Magical Buffet included. Yet everyone is still here, even me! THANK YOU!

As further thanks, say hello to the best giveaway ever! I reached out to two fantastic publishers, New World Library and Inner Traditions, and asked if they would each give me a copy of one of my favorite books that they ever published…..and they did! These two books mean a lot to me, and hope whoever wins them finds them as inspiring and insightful as I do!

From New World Library we’ve got “Sit Down and Shut Up: Punk Rock Commentaries on Buddha, God, Truth, Sex, Death, & Dogen’s Treasury of the Right Dharma Eye” by Brad Warner, and Inner Traditions was kind of enough to send me a copy of “Phantom Armies of The Night: The Wild Hunt and the Ghostly Processions of the Undead” by Claude Lecouteux. What do these books have in common? Absolutely nothing except that I freakin’ love them to pieces!

We’re doing the Rafflecopter thing! Contest ends Sunday, October 7, 2018 at 11:59pm eastern. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Banned Books Week 2018

It’s the end of September again, so it is time to remind all of you about the important work the American Library Association does in the form of Banned Books Week. For those unfamiliar with the event, you must be new to my site. Welcome! Here’s a brief description from the ALA:

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Highlighting the value of free and open access to information, Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek, to publish, to read, and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted for removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.

This year’s theme is “Banning Books Silences Stories”. You can learn more about the impact of Banned Books Week by visiting the site.

The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 354 challenges to library, school and university materials in 2017. Of the 416 books challenged or banned in 2017, the Top 10 Most Challenged Books are:

Thirteen Reasons Why written by Jay Asher
Originally published in 2007, this New York Times bestseller has resurfaced as a controversial book after Netflix aired a TV series by the same name. This YA novel was challenged and banned in multiple school districts because it discusses suicide.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian written by Sherman Alexie
Consistently challenged since its publication in 2007 for acknowledging issues such as poverty, alcoholism, and sexuality, this National Book Award winner was challenged in school curriculums because of profanity and situations that were deemed sexually explicit.

Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
This Stonewall Honor Award-winning, 2012 graphic novel from an acclaimed cartoonist was challenged and banned in school libraries because it includes LGBT characters and was considered “confusing.”

The Kite Runner written by Khaled Hosseini
This critically acclaimed, multigenerational novel was challenged and banned because it includes sexual violence and was thought to “lead to terrorism” and “promote Islam.”

George written by Alex Gino
Written for elementary-age children, this Lambda Literary Award winner was challenged and banned because it includes a transgender child.

Sex is a Funny Word written by Cory Silverberg and illustrated by Fiona Smyth
This 2015 informational children’s book written by a certified sex educator was challenged because it addresses sex education and is believed to lead children to “want to have sex or ask questions about sex.”

To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee
This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, considered an American classic, was challenged and banned because of violence and its use of the N-word.

The Hate U Give written by Angie Thomas
Despite winning multiple awards and being the most searched-for book on Goodreads during its debut year, this YA novel was challenged and banned in school libraries and curriculums because it was considered “pervasively vulgar” and because of drug use, profanity, and offensive language.

And Tango Makes Three written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson and illustrated by Henry Cole
Returning after a brief hiatus from the Top Ten Most Challenged list, this ALA Notable Children’s Book, published in 2005, was challenged and labeled because it features a same-sex relationship.

I Am Jazz written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
This autobiographical picture book co-written by the 13-year-old protagonist was challenged because it addresses gender identity.

International Talk Like a Pirate Day 2018

All around the world and even hundreds of miles above it, people celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day every September 19.

International Talk Like a Pirate Day is the only holiday on the calendar that encourages people to babble like buccaneers for the sheer, anarchic fun of it. It’s been celebrated by millions of people on all seven continents – yes, even at the South Pole – and on the International Space Station!

The holiday was the brainchild (if that’s the right word) of John Baur and Mark Summers, two friends from Albany, Ore., who were playing racquetball when, for reasons that aren’t clear to either of them now, they started insulting each other in pirate jargon. They decided to start Talk Like a Pirate Day, and picked September 19th because it is Summers’ ex-wife’s birthday. The date was stuck in his head and he wasn’t doing anything with it anymore, so it would be easy to remember, Summers said.

From such unlikely seeds was born an international sensation. The two friends – who now go by the pirate personas of Ol’ Chumbucket and Cap’n Slappy – have swashed their buckles from the Gulf of Mexico to the Puget Sound, from Los Angeles to Chicago to Philadelphia. They’ve performed at a glamorous Las Vegas resort, at libraries, bookstores, museums, schools and at several seedy bars.

Together they have written two books of pirate advice, “The Pirates Life: Unleashing Your Inner Buccaneer,” published by Kensington, a hilarious sequel to their first hit, “Pirattitude! So You Wanna Be a Pirate? Here’s How!” published by New American Library. Mark is also co-author of “Pirate Santa,” and John wrote the young adult adventure, “Chrissie Warren: Pirate Hunter.”
They’ve also written a series of pirate “caper” stories available online.

Cap’n Slappy still calls Oregon his home. Ol’ Chumbucket is now ensconced in New Orleans, after a four-year sojourn in the Caribbean.

You can learn more and subscribe to their newsletter here: http://talklikeapirate.com

(This info was provided by The Pirate Guys, LLC.)

Oops He Did It Again!

It may seem weird to use a Britney Spear’s song title for a book review about Zen Buddhism. However, we’re talking about Brad Warner’s latest book “It Came from Beyond Zen! More Practical Advice from Dogen, Japan’s Greatest Zen Master”. Warner is well known for dropping some popular cultural throughout his books. (Full disclosure, I doubt he’s a Britney fan.)

As for truth in advertising, the title fits the reality. Again, Warner goes through the teachings of Dogen and breaks it down so us non-Japanese speaking, non-Chinese speaking, non-practicing Buddhists can understand the frequent twists and turns that Zen writings can take. First Warner translates the texts into a layman’s translation, then follows that with some information about other English translations and explains his personal interpretations on what each writing means. Therefore, Warner is one of my favorite writers when it comes to Zen Buddhism. He works hard so it’s accessible for everyone.

I know it’s a short review, but what more can I say? Researched, thought provoking writings presented in an accessible, fun manner.

Learn more about “It Came from Beyond Zen!” here.

Medieval Lay Mystics

Christian History magazine is back with a new issue I thought many of you would be interested to check out, the latest issue is titled “Medieval Lay Mystics”.

Christian History Institute (CHI), publisher of Christian History magazine (CHM), announces its latest issue, titled: “Medieval Lay Mystics”. The entire issue explores a mysterious question for many Christians, historians and scholars – What did it look like and what did it feel like to be a medieval Christian?

Spanning four vivid centuries, from 1000 to 1473, CHM issue #127 takes an in-depth look at the lives of notable medieval mystics, especially those who were not ordained clergy.

By the twelfth century devout women, monks and hermits came out of seclusion to preach and minister to others, proclaiming the gospel in local languages so that common people could understand it. They called on both fellow laypeople and clergy to repent and enter a genuine relationship with Christ. This spiritual process, culminating in an inner, mystical union became known as mysticism.

Scholars agree, that around the twelfth century, a variety of forces led to a cultural and spiritual renewal among those living outside formal religious institutions and traditions. First by thousands, then by the tens of thousands, common people responded to the gospel. Thirsty for a vital Christian life, they fostered devotional lifestyles, joining various movements of piety and service to others that offered opportunities to grow spiritually.

Three centuries before the Reformation, scholars began to also translate the Bible into local languages. Outdoor preaching became common and itinerant preachers traveled across Europe calling people to a life of repentance. This led to 300 years of repeated revival movements and waves of spiritual renewal across Western Europe leading up to the Reformation, which began around 1500.

“People from these movements penned timeless devotional classics, many still popular, writing of their desire to reach a mystical oneness with the Christ they loved,” said the managing editor of Christian History, Jennifer Woodruff Tait. “Here, I think, is the point where we can connect their lives with ours. We both desire to learn how to be more devoted to Jesus.”

CH issue #127, contains 7 features and 4 shorter side-bar articles; a chronology time-line; an archive of rare art-work & photos; a ‘letter to the editor’ section and an extensive reading list compiled by the CHM editorial staff.

I read the issue and found it an interesting, worthwhile read. What’s great is, you can read this issue, all their past issues, and access all sorts of other resources for FREE on their website! You can find it all here.