Read Around the World

You wouldn’t think that an online travel company could pitch me something I would absolutely want to share with you, however TravelBird pulled it off. They reached out to ambassadors around the world asking which book they believe best represents their country. Clever, right? The answers are part of a larger study. The larger project began by contacting embassies in over 50 countries around the world, asking ambassadors several simple yet revealing questions about their homeland. Their answers offer cultural insights and unique insider tips on how to experience their country how locals do. The questions were as follows:

If a person is visiting your country for 48 hours, where should they go? What should they see? What should they eat?

Is there a common cliche about people in your country which you believe is misrepresentative or untrue?

Which book, fiction or non-fiction, best represents your country?

You can check out the full results here. But I’m here to talk about the books. The results were interesting, but a lot of them are not in English. This just reminds me that I wish I was fluent in other languages. Sigh.

Facundo Vila, Argentina’s ambassador to Finland: Martín Fierro by José Hernández, 1872

Betina Pasquali Fonseca, Argentina’s ambassador to Norway: El Aleph by Luís Borges, 1945

Nélida María Cintreras de Ecke, Argentina’s ambassador to Sweden: El Aleph by Luís Borges, 1945

Dr. Peter Huber, Austria’s ambassador to Germany: Der Trafikant (English title, ‘The Tobacconist’) by Robert Seethaler, 2012

Elizabeth Ellison-Kramer, Austria’s ambassador to Hungary: Das Buch Österreich: Texte, die man kennen muss (translates in English to ‘The Book of Austria. The text you have to know’) by Hans Rauscher, 2005 and The World of Yesterday by Stefan Zweig, 1942

Dr. Phil. Heidemaria Gürer, Austria’s ambassador to Netherlands: Die gute Küche: Das österreichische Standardkochbuch (translates in English to ‘The good kitchen’: The Austrian Standard Cookbook) by Ewald Plachutta & Christoph Wagner, 1993

Thomas Stelzer, Austria’s ambassador to Portugal: Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften (English title, ‘The Man without Qualities’) by Robert Musil, 1930-1943

Matthias Radosztics, Austria’s ambassador to South Africa: Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften (English title, ‘The Man without Qualities’) by Robert Musil, 1930-1943, Das Augenspiel (English title, ‘The Play of the Eyes’) by Elias Canetti, 1985, Die Dämonen (translates in English as ‘The Demons’) by Heimito von Doderer, 1956, Die Tante Jolesch: oder Der Untergang des Abendlandes in Anekdoten (English title, ‘Tante Jolesch: Or, The Decline of the West in Anecdotes’) by Friedrich Torberg, 1975

Susan Bincoletto, Canada’s ambassador to Switzerland: The Promise of Canade by Charlotte Gray, 2016

Juan José Quintana, Colombia’s ambassador to Netherlands: Cien Años de Soledad (English title, ‘One hundred Years of Solitude’) by Gabriel Garcia Márquez, 1967

Jorge Leyva, Colombia’s ambassador to Norway: El amor en tiempos de guerra (English title, ‘Love in Times of War’) by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1985

Román Macaya, Costa Rica’s ambassador to the United States: Cuentos de mi tía Panchita (translates in English to ‘Stories of my Aunt Panchita’) by Carmen Lyra, 1920

Tomislav Bošnjak, Croatia’s ambassador to Egypt: Gricka vjestica (English title, ‘The Witch of Grič’) by Marija Zagorka, 1913

Jetter Nordam, Denmark’s ambassador to Finland: Den afrikanske farm (English title, ‘Out of Africa’) by Karen Blixen, 1937 or Andersen’s Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen, 1835

Aníbal de Castro, Dominican Republic ambassador to Belgium: Cuentos escritos en el Exilio (translates in English as ‘Tales written in exile’) by Juan Bosch, 1964 or Más cuentos escritos en el Exilio (translates in English as ‘More tales in exile’) by Juan Bosch, 1964

Julio Simon Castaños Z., Dominica Republic ambassador to Switzerland: La Mañosa (no English translation) by Juan Bosch, 1935

Fernando Bucheli, Ecuador’s ambassador to Netherlands: Memorias de Andrés Chiliquinga (translates in English to ‘Memoir of Andrés Chiliquinga’) by Carlos Arcos Cabrera, 2013

Hannu Kyröläinen, Finland’s ambassador to Austria: Putkinotko (no English translation) by Joel Lehtonen, 1919

Timo Ranta, Finland’s ambassador to Belgium: Kalevala, Elias Lönnrot, 1849

Vesa Vasara, Finland’s ambassador to Denmark: Tuntematon sotilas (English title, ‘The Unknown Soldier’) by Väinö Linna, 1954

Ritva Koukku-Ronde, Finland’s ambassador to Germany: A History of Finland by Henrik Meinander, 2011

Erik Lundberg, Finland’s ambassador to Norway: Trollvinter (English title, ‘Moominland Midwinter’) by Tove Jansson, 1957

Nicolas Protonotarios, Greece’s ambassador to Slovenia: Odyssey by Homer, approx. 8th century BC

Luis F. Carranza, Guatemala’s ambassador to Switzerland: Hombres de Maíz (English title, ‘Men of Maize’) by Miguel Ángel Asturias, 1949

Nagy Zoltán, Hungary’s ambassador to Belgium: A Pál utcai fiúk (English title, ‘The Paul Street Boys’) by Ferenc Molnar, 1906

Dr László Zsolt Szabó, Hungary’s ambassador to New Zealand: A gyertyák csonkig égnek (English title, ‘Embers’) by Sándor Márai, 1942

Tom Hanney, Ireland’s ambassador to Austria: Solar Bones by Mike McCormack, 2016

Jacob Keidar, Israel’s ambassador to Switzerland: The Bible, The Old Testament

Giorgio Novello, Italy’s ambassador to Norway: Il nome della Rosa (English title, ‘The name of the Rose’), Umberto Eco, 1980

Keith Azzopardi, Malta’s ambassador to Italy: The Kappillan of Malta by Nicholas Monsarrat, 1973

Dr. Albert Friggieri, Malta’s ambassador to Germany: The Kappillan of Malta by Nicholas Monsarrat, 1973

Joseph Cole, Malta’s ambassador to Netherlands: The Kappillan of Malta by Nicholas Monsarrat, 1973

Y. Ramjanally, Mauritius ambassador to Belgium: Paul et Virginie by Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, 1788

Eloy Cantú Segovia, Mexico’s ambassador to Belgium: Pedro Páramo (no English translation) by Juan Rulfo, 1955

Carlos Pujante, Mexico’s ambassador to Denmark: Pedro Páramo (no English translation) by Juan Rulfo, 1955

Jorge-Castro Valle, Mexico’s ambassador to Norway: El Laberinto de la soledad (English title, ‘The Labyrinth of Solitude’) by Octavio Paz, 1950 or La Región más Transparente (English title, ‘Where the Air is Clear’) by Carlos Fuentes, 1958

Agustín Gasca Pliego, Mexico’s ambassador to Sweden: Como Agua para Chocolate (English title, ‘Like Water for Chocolate’) by Laura Esquivel, 1989

Lamia Radi, Morocco’s ambassador to Norway: Le Petit Prince (English title, ‘The Little Prince’) by Antoina de Saint Exupery, 1943

Matthijs van Bonzel, Netherlands’ ambassador to Spain: Nijntje (English title, ‘Miffy’) by Dick Bruna, 1955

Nicole Roberton, New Zealand’s ambassador to Austria: Māori Myths and Legends by Alexander Wyclif Reed, 1964

Jørn Eugene Gjelstad, Norway’s ambassador to Greece: Norwegian Wood: Chopping, Stacking, and Drying Wood the Scandinavian Way by Lars Mytting, 2015

Manuel Lobo Antunes, Portugal’s ambassador to the United Kingdom: Mensagem (translates in English to ‘Message’) by Fernando Pessoa, 1934

Manuel de la Cámara Hermoso, Spain’s ambassador to Finland: Don Quijote de la Mancha (English title, ‘Don Quixote’) by Miguel de Cervantes, 1615

Fredrik Jörgensen, Sweden’s ambassador to Denmark: Ett drömspel (English title, ‘A Dream Play’) by August Strindberg, 1902, Nils Holgerssons (English title, ‘The Wonderful Adventures of Nils’) by Selma Lagerlöf, 1907, Pippi Långstrump (English title, ‘Pippi Longstocking’) by Astrid Lindgren, 1945, Rid i Natt (English title, ‘Ride this Night’) by Vilhelm Moberg, 1941 or I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 2011

Walter Haffner, Switzerland’s ambassador to Austria: Das Kalb vor der Gotthardpost (translates in English to ‘The calf in front of the Gotthardpost’) by Peter von Matt, 2012

Andrej Motyl, Switzerland’s ambassador to Poland: Die Physiker (English title, ‘The Physicists’) by Friedrich Dürrenmatt, 1961 or Homo Faber (no English translation) by Max Frisch, 1957

Cèsar Mèndez Gonzàlez, Venezuela’s ambassador to Switzerland: Doña Barbara (translates in English to ‘Ms Barbara’) by Ròmulo Gallegos, 1929

Ngo Thi Hoa, Vietnam’s ambassador to Netherlands: Truyện Kiều (English title ‘The Tale of Kieu’) by Nguyen Du, 1820

Traditional Magic Spells for Protection & Healing Review and Giveaway

I have a hard time writing reviews for Claude Lecouteux’s books. They’re all dense tomes of knowledge, meticulously researched, and loaded with excerpts and references from medieval texts. One doesn’t casually breeze through one of his books, you slowly follow the path that he lays out before you. And his latest “Traditional Magic Spells for Protection and Healing” is no exception.

As usual Lecouteux turns his scholar’s eye towards highlighting the intersection of Christianity and Pagan beliefs, this time with medical practices tossed in. In medieval times health issues were a matter of body, the spiritual world, and spiritual concerns. Not only does Lecouteux outline means of diagnosis, but addresses the cures whether you’re being afflicted with an evil spell, or tormented by a demon. Incantations against wolf bite, using alum in water to help someone regain their speech, charms against demons, and obviously so much more!

“Traditional Magic Spells for Protection and Healing” is a must for magic nerds like myself. Honestly, every Claude Lecouteux book is a must own.

You can learn more here.

Guess what? Due to a mix up at Inner Traditions I have a copy of “Traditional Magic Spells for Protection and Healing” to give away!

The winner will be selected via the Rafflecopter contest below on Sunday, April 29th at 11:59 PM Eastern time. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Devil and Father Amorth

The Orchard will release “The Devil and Father Amorth” theatrically in New York and Los Angeles On April 20th.

Years after he changed the landscape of American filmmaking with 1973’s “The Exorcist”, director, co-writer and legendary storyteller William Friedkin moves from fiction to fact with his new documentary, “The Devil and Father Amorth”. What began as a brief conversation between Friedkin and Father Gabrielle Amorth – the head Exorcist for the Diocese of Rome for over 30 years – as two professionals who knew of each other’s work soon transformed into an once-in-a- lifetime opportunity, as Amorth agreed Friedkin could film an exorcism ceremony. It would be the ninth exorcism for a painfully afflicted woman, Cristina (a pseudonym), who had already been under Father Amorth’s care – and it would be filmed by Friedkin alone, with no other crew allowed, no light other than the natural light in the room and a small digital camera-and-mic unit that could capture the ritual and its revelations.

Combining the startling and singular footage from Cristina’s exorcism with interviews from priests and psychologists, neurosurgeons and non-believers, Friedkin guides us on a journey into the twilight world between the boundaries of what we know and what we don’t with a singular and startling guide in the form of the urbane, charming and self-deprecatingly funny Father Amorth, a man who laughs in the face of the Devil both figuratively and literally. Combining Friedkin’s past memories and present observations with archival footage and new interviews – as well as also presenting what may be the only real exorcism ceremony captured on film – “The Devil and Father Amorth” is a startling and surprising story of the religion, the ritual and the real-world victims involved in possession and exorcism.

10 Questions with Judy Hall

1. What first sparked your interest in crystals?

I’ve been attracted by crystals since I was very small. My grandparents lived in the English Lake District and I spent a lot of time walking there with my grandfather picking up ‘shiny things.’ I amassed a wonderful collection of Quartzes. Later I found a rather strange mineral shop in Southend and bought masses of crystals from him. However, he wouldn’t identify anything so, when I found there was no crystal directory available, I ended up writing The Crystal Bible to record my experiences with them. Things snowballed from there.

2. What’s your favorite thing about working with crystals?

I love to work intuitively with them so that they can reveal themselves to me. I’ve been an astrologer for fifty years and always placed crystals on birthcharts when doing karmic readings to balance out the energies. This expanded into sharing them with workshop participants. Now I spend a great deal of time talking to crystal skulls and crystal dragons. It takes me into the multidimensional multiverse, a great place to explore.

3. You’re written so many books about the world of crystals, what sets your latest book, “The Crystal Seer” apart from the others?

(Judy Hall refrained from answering this question, so allow me to insert a little info/review here.) “The Crystal Seer” features content from Hall’s previous release “101 Power Crystals”. It is compact, full color 176 pages of beautiful photos and of course loads of info about crystals! It is a sturdy hardcover that will travel well in purses and messenger bags for crystal identification on the go. It’s good stuff!

4. These days you’ll find crystals in everything from skincare to bottled water. Do you find this further infusion of crystals into items beyond jewelry a good thing?

Crystals have always been in the most surprising of places, even the sparkplugs in your car and the paint on your walls. So this expansion doesn’t surprise me. But, as I believe that there is no such thing as ‘one crystal fits all’ I do feel you need to find the right product for you in order to gain benefit.

5. What’s one of your favorite crystals, and why?

The one crystal I wouldn’t be without is a Brandenberg Amethyst. It literally does everything I could ever require of it – and more.

6. Where do you get most of your crystals? (stores, websites, rock shows, etc.)

From all over the place! I still go out and pick them up from a very special crystal mountain – and any beach I happen to be on. I also buy from trusted websites, wholesalers, rock shows, favourite stores. I’m fortunate in that I’m often sent new crystals to assess. There are some lovely crystal suppliers out there.

7. If someone wants to start using crystals, where do you think they should begin?

Well, once they’ve cleansed and asked the crystal to work with them (how to do this is on my website and in virtually all my books), I suggest they ask the crystal how it wants to work with them. Learning to listen to your crystals brings out the best in them. Having said that, I do have an online crystal course and several books that teach the basics. After that, you can follow your heart. Oh yes, and buy my Crystal Companion, it’s the best guide I’ve written. (see no.9)

8. What do you do when you’re not working with, or writing about, crystals?

I visit sacred sites, which are one of my great passions, although of course that often involves crystals (see my Crystals and Sacred Sites book). Quite often from the comfort of my armchair courtesy of a crystal. I travel as often as possible as I really enjoy seeing new places. I’m just off to see some amazing huge rock balls in Romania that are, allegedly, still growing. Really looking forward to that! I also play as often as possible with my great granddaughter who is four, that’s a great way to take a different view of the world. I devour books and I enjoy splashing paint on canvass to see what occurs.

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

Yes, my ‘Crystal Companion’ came out on 5th April. This is a book I am really excited about. It brings together information on crystals, introducing many of the latest finds, with how I personally work with them. It’s been colour-themed for the various areas of life in which you can use crystals so if someone works through it they’ll have explored just about every crystal possibility.

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

Well, rather than a question, I have a suggestion. How about asking all your subscribers to dedicate a crystal to world peace and hold it for just a minute a day. It could make such a difference at this troubled time.

(You heard the lady!)

About Judy Hall:
Judy Hall (Dorset, England) is a successful Mind-Body-Spirit author with over 45 MBS books to her credit including the million copy selling “Crystal Bible (volumes 1 and 2)”, “Encyclopedia of Crystals”, “101 Power Crystals”, “Crystals and Sacred Sites”, “The Crystal Seer”, “Crystal Prescriptions”, and “The Crystal Wisdom Healing Oracle”. A trained healer and counselor, Judy has been psychic all her life and has a wide experience of many systems of divination and natural healing methods. Judy has a B.Ed in Religious Studies with an extensive knowledge of world religions and mythology and an M.A. in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology at Bath Spa University. Her expertise are past life readings and regression; soul healing, reincarnation, astrology and psychology, divination and crystal lore. Judy has appeared four times in the Watkins list of the 100 most influential spiritual living writers and was voted the 2014 Kindred Spirit MBS personality of the year. An internationally known author, psychic, and healer, Judy conducts workshops in her native England and internationally. Her books have been translated into sixteen languages. You can learn more about her and her work at her website.

Food & Faith

As most of you know by know, I’m quite the fan of food and learning about religion. That’s why when Christian History Magazine emailed me about their latest issue I was pretty intrigued and wanted to share it with you. The issue is “Faith & Food, 2000 Years of Feasting and Fasting”.

As they explain:
This issue is packed with tid-bits of information about foods mentioned in the Bible and Christianity’s holiest meal, the Lord’s Supper. Many more meals and meal traditions have been documented, among them: potlucks and fellowship meals, soup kitchens and church gardens, Christian cookbooks and Christian diets, the temperance movement, feasting, fasting and practices of hospitality.

Good food from the good book, A partial primer on biblical foods by the editor

What should Christians cook?, Faith in the kitchen by Jennifer Trafton – Jennifer Trafton, author, artist, creative writing teacher, and former managing editor of Christian History.

The royal way, Feasting or fasting? the constant Christian tension in the public square by Kathleen Mulhern, who teaches Christian formation and church history at Denver Seminary.

Fasting: from the Orthodox front lines, we should consider the spiritual discipline of not eating by Frederica Mathewes-Green, author of Welcome to the Orthodox Church and numerous other books, and frequent essayist and public speaker.

Recipes, recipe suggestions from friends of Christian History by Josh Hale, Barbara J. Hale, Frederica Mathewes-Green, Julie Byrne, Mary Anne Tietjen Byrne, Quita Sauerwein

Everyday substances, heavenly gifts, From the beginning, the holiest Christian meal used everyday food by Andrew McGowan – J. L. Caldwell McFaddin and Rosine B. McFaddin Professor of Anglican Studies and Pastoral Theology and dean of Berkeley Divinity School at Yale. He is the author of Ancient Christian Worship and Ascetic Eucharists.

Eating (and not eating) with the church fathers, Things church fathers said about food compiled by Jennifer Woodruff Tait – Managing editor, Christian History.

Raise a juice box to the temperance movement, Getting unfermented wine from the vineyard by Jennifer Woodruff Tait – Managing editor, Christian History.

What would Jesus buy?, How nineteenth-century Christians transformed our grocery aisles by Matt Forster – freelance author living in Clarkston, Michigan, and a frequent contributor to Christian History.

The sacred duty, a Seventh-day Adventist menu by LaVonne Neff – freelance author and blogger at LivelyDust, raised an Adventist.

From Cana to Jell-O, Christian fellowship meals: feeding the hungry and each other by Barton E. Price – director of the Centers for Academic Success and Achievement at Indiana University–Purdue University Ft. Wayne and teaches history, music, and religious studies.

Welcoming the Stranger, Serving the guest—including with bread by Carmen Acevedo Butcher – lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley and the author of Man of Blessing: A Life of St. Benedict.

I haven’t read the entire issue yet, but I’ve read a few articles so far and I find it interesting. The articles are well written and the art is beautiful. Are you interested? Well good news, you can read it for free online at the Christian History Institute’s website! And if you like what you read, you can subscribe with a donation of any amount you choose.

10 Questions with Angela Kaufman

1. Where did you get the idea for “Queen Up!”?

Queen Up! had a slow incubation period that began before I even thought of writing the book. It was inspired by my experience recovering from a mild TBI from a car accident. Prior to the accident I had learned about living in connection with the elements as part of spiritual practice. I began applying the concept of aligning with specific elemental energies to figure out what the heck I was going to do with life after the accident when it became clear that there was no going back to what used to be ‘normal’ for me.

I realized that others were facing similar before-and-after moments asking themselves the same questions I was asking myself. I began using the Tarot Queens in readings and then in coaching sessions to personify the elemental energies around and within us and knew I wanted to share this understanding with others. At first I was going to make it into a game, and then it became a party, and a workshop, and a coaching program before finally becoming a book.

2. In “Queen Up!” you use the four tarot queens. Do you feel like this could translate to the four tarot kings so men could “King Up!”?

Queen Up! draws from my experience and the issues women commonly brought to readings and sessions, however that being said men are certainly welcome to read the book and utilize this system. The Queens represent archetypal and elemental energy and so even masculine energy is represented by the Queens of Swords and Wands.

I would also recommend that men, or women interested in supporting the healing of the masculine in our society, read a book that addresses more of these issues specifically. One such book is King, Warrior, Magician, Lover by Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette.

3. Do you have a favorite tarot deck for use with “Queen Up!”?

My favorite deck that I have on hand most times for readings and work with clients is the Russian Tarot of St. Petersburg.

When I am doing my own Queen Up! work I typically envision the Queens without using a specific deck, and it is my hope that this is what Queen Up! will jump start for others- the process of working with cards as a means to a more personal relationship with the archetypes. I also love the cards Shaheen created and have come to visualize these images many times when doing this work.

I wanted Queen Up! to be eclectic however and so readers will find a variety of correspondences to various decks in the book so that it can be used in conjunction with any deck, or one of your own creating.

4. You offer beautiful companion cards by artist Shaheen Miro. How did that partnership come about?

I LOVE Shaheen’s artwork!!!! One of the many awesome things about working with Red Wheel/Conari is that they have been fantastic and supportive every step of the way including an early decision to use unique artwork to portray the Queens. Kathryn Sky-Peck, the Editor from Conari, suggested Shaheen as she was familiar with his work. She said “he gets the archetypes, and I think you guys have a similar vision here.” I trusted her instincts and am glad I did. Not only did Shaheen do a phenomenal job but I am loving collaborations we have done since connecting.

5. The cards don’t come with the book, if readers are interested where can they find them?

Queen Up! can be ordered as a kit via my website, and as such will include the book, cards and a coupon on a follow up session. As there are only four Queen cards as opposed to a larger “deck” we decided it would make the most sense for the book to stand alone and the cards to be optional. Anyone who wishes to order the cards as an addition to a book purchased elsewhere can also e-mail me at and I will be happy to provide details on ordering. Finally, cards and books will be available for sale at a number of book signings, workshops and other events taking place this spring and summer.

6. You run “Queen Up!” workshops. How do those differ from working through the book on your own?

Working through the process with the book allows a personal unfolding to take place in your own time and at your own pace. It can be more personal because the focus is on your daily process and exploration of your transition, however there are several benefits to a workshop. One of course is the interaction and connection with others. By sharing the energy with a group you may develop insights you wouldn’t have come to on your own, plus you have the benefit of seeing that we share more in common with each other- including our common struggles, losses, pains and triumphs, than we may otherwise realize. A workshop can either be an introduction to the process which the book takes further, or a deepening of the work you’ve already started in the book. Either way the book has plenty of resources and exercises to create an ongoing practice of empowerment and transformation.

7. You also do coaching, what is that like?

Coaching allows the best of both worlds. You can begin to work on the process on your own by reading the book, for example, but with coaching you have feedback, personalized guidance, accountability and guidance through the process. Programs are tailored to individual needs and support your specific goals. Some people are looking to heal and attract love, others want to make career changes, other people are going through complete personal shifts that touch every aspect of their lives. Coaching blends individual sessions with homework assignments, meditations and exercises like those found in the book, but with personalized direction.

8. If you could be any Queen, from the tarot, history, or fiction, who would it be?

I love this question! I can’t pick just one though. Like the Queen of Wands, I want to try everything.
From Tarot- the Queen of Pentacles because her energy is my least comfortable. From History, Queen Boudica, because it’s not whether you win or lose, but whether you have the courage to stand up to the Roman Empire. Fiction, Daenerys from Game of Thrones (though I shouldn’t speak so soon perhaps, not sure how the series ends)!

9. Do you have any upcoming projects our readers can look forward to?

I have a few irons in the fire but not developed enough to leave hints just yet. For the next several months I am looking forward to spreading the word about Queen Up! through a variety of events in NY, New England and New Jersey (all the New places apparently) and playing around with fiction and poetry when the mood strikes me.

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

Awesome! Thanks for the opportunity. What do you feel is the most important message or theme for readers right now? What would you like to see more writers in this genre focus on?

Wow! High pressure question! I think an important message right now is to support one another. When we support and help each other succeed everyone benefits. I think a lot of writers, particularly in the new age and spirituality genres have addressed this for quite some time, but now is the time for everyone to embrace that message and put it into practice.

About Angela Kaufmann:
Angela Kaufman is a Certified Intuitive Consultant, Psychic Medium, Intuitive Empowerment and Relationship Coach and LCSW. Angela’s mission is inspired by a lifelong interest in spirituality, metaphysics, Tarot, as well as a desire to challenge preconceived limitations. After a life changing accident, Angela left behind a blossoming career in Social Work to heal from a mild Traumatic Brain Injury. With an uncertain path ahead, Angela drew on her connection to Spirit to create a new, empowered and intuitively informed life. This would later become the basis for the Queen Up! system. Angela is author of the upcoming book Queen Up! Reclaim Your Crown When Life Knocks You Down (Conari 2018), and has co-authored Wicca; What’s the Real Deal? Breaking Through the Misconceptions, Sacred Objects, Sacred Space; Everyday Tools for the Modern Day Witch, and The Esoteric Dream Book; Mastering the Magickal Symbolism of the Subconscious Mind (all with Dayna Winters and Patricial Gardner, Schiffer Publishing). She also writes short stories blending social criticism with spirituality, and is an artist and activist.

Visit her at her website!

Witches, Sluts, Feminists

So this book has been out for nearly a year. I didn’t get to it right away, and the next thing you know, here we are, nearly a year later. However, no matter how long it sat in my “to do” pile I knew I would eventually get to it. I mean, the book is called “ Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive”, how could I resist? And although almost a year old, this book is more relevant than ever.

Kristen J. Sollee’s book is a fascinating exploration of the way non-conformist women have been treated by society historically and in modern times. There is an intricate web woven with the threads of sexuality and gender identity and the label witch that examined in great depth utilizing extensive research and interesting first person interviews. All of this makes “Witches, Sluts, Feminists” a must read for anyone woman who considers herself a witch and/or part of “the resistance” we’re seeing today.

If you want an informative, eye-opening read, Sollee’s “Witches, Sluts, Feminists” should go to the top of your “to do” pile!

To learn more, click here.

Batman: Gotham By Gaslight

At the end of January “Batman: Gotham by Gaslight” was released direct to video. It’s an animated feature based on the stand alone comic of the same name. I never read the comic, so when I learned the movie was out on DVD I picked it up, and well, I have feelings to share.

Let’s start with the film’s description from the back of the case:

It’s the Bat against the Butcher!
Gotham City, at the turn of the century, is experiencing a golden era of discovery and industry as showcased by affluent businessman Bruce Wayne’s World Fair. Down in the darkest alleys, however, there is a killer on the loose. Preying on the city’s women, this killer is precise as he is cruel. As Commissioner James Gordon tries to calm the fears of Gotham’s citizens over the butcher named Jack the Ripper, masked vigilante Batman does some detective work of his own, with the help of the sultry and surefooted Selina Kyle. Witness a world in flames as the killer’s controlled savagery meets the calculated stealth of the Dark Knight!

That relays the gist of the film quite nicely. Seriously, who can resist a dark, Victorian era version of Batman? Not this gal. However there is the weird feeling that they couldn’t convey the era without beating you over the head with it. For comic book folks, it’s generally believed that Gotham is a stand in for New York City (and Superman’s Metropolis is Chicago). Yet not only did they drop Chicago’s World Fair, complete with ferris wheel into NYC, but Batman is pursuing Jack the Ripper who we all know was a British problem. I get that this is a whole alternative universe thing, but it did feel kind of wonky.

Now let’s discuss the star of the show, Selina Kyle. This a fantastic version of the character. A shrewd business woman, a badass brawler, and a sexy show girl. Way cooler than Bruce Wayne or Batman. In the film she invents the Bat Signal and alternate universe or not, I’ve decided it is canon and that’s that.

The story, which I assume at least this part matches the comic, takes a surprise twist at the end, which I found pretty daring and well done. I won’t say more for fear of spoiling it.

The film is rated R for violence, but compared to many Jack the Ripper stories, the violence if fairly tame and never feels gratuitous.

Yes I had some petty gripes, but the good definitely outweighs the bad. If you dig Batman and the whole Victorian Era Steampunk thing, “Gotham by Gaslight” is worth checking out.

Bad Princess

When I learned that Kris Waldherr, author of the wickedly fun book “Doomed Queens”, had a new book called “Bad Princess” coming out I knew I had to read it. I didn’t care that it was intended for ages 9-12 years-old. And yes, “Bad Princess: True Tales from Behind the Tiara” is geared for younger readers, but it still has much to offer anyone interested in learning about the true nature of royalty.

In spite of its slender 130 pages of larger size font, “Bad Princess” is full of interesting and fun facts about the fate of royal daughters throughout history, folklore, and fiction. As you may surmise from the title, being a “good” princess in the past seems less desirable than the way “bad” princesses lived their lives. Along with tons of factual information Waldherr maintains her reputation for fun by also including a “Tournament of Princesses” which pits Princesses of history against Princesses from stories. There is also a cute board game called “Princess: Paths to Power”. In it you try to dodge getting tossed into dungeons, avoid bad marriages and squabbles with other Princesses, to ultimately take your place as Queen.

“Bad Princess” by Kris Waldherr is fun read for everyone.

To learn more or purchase a copy visit here.

Wild Wild Country

You guys, I got a press release for a documentary series debuting on Netflix March 16th that looks crazy. I’m going to want to watch it and I thought you might too. Here’s the story:

When the world’s most controversial guru builds a utopian city in the Oregon desert, a massive conflict with local ranchers ensues; producing the first bioterror attack in US history, the largest case of illegal wiretapping ever recorded, and the world’s biggest collection of Rolls-Royce automobiles. Over six episodes, Directors Chapman Way and Maclain Way (“The Battered Bastards of Baseball”) and executive producers Mark and Jay Duplass (Duplass Brothers Productions) take viewers back to this pivotal, yet largely forgotten moment in American cultural history, one in which our national tolerance for the separation of church and state was sorely tested. Wild Wild Country is historical filmmaking brought to life on an epic scale. It’s a tale so wild that seeing means barely believing.

And here’s the trailer: