Video Games for Mindfulness?

There are a multitude of ways to meditate and/or practice mindfulness. I gave an overview of a bunch of them on my Patreon (shameless plug for my Patreon). However, it never occurred to me to include playing videos games. Apparently it did to Alyssa Celatti over at FandomSpot.com.

She looked at a few studies and found, “that eight out of 10 (79%) gamers state that gaming provides relaxation and stress relief, with well over half of c-suite executives taking daily gaming breaks and benefiting from meditation techniques and hits of dopamine.” With that in mind, they surveyed their online community asked them to “list the games that made them feel the most mindful and in a state of ‘flow’.”

For the physical element of the study, 100 participants from a range of backgrounds, locations, gender, sexual orientations and ages (ranging between 18 and 72) were asked to test the games that were mentioned most often during the survey.

Participants were asked to game in two-hour stints, alone, using whatever consoles and peripherals that they would usually use to game but with the addition of them wearing a simple heart rate monitor to ensure that it didn’t raise significantly to suggest stress or over-excitement. They were also asked to record via a questionnaire of how their mood shifted before, during and after gaming to highlight emotions, stress levels and how mindful they felt.

Obviously, this isn’t a definitive study, and I would also argue that what players are experiencing is relaxation, not necessarily a state of mindfulness. That said, let’s not undersell the importance of relaxation. Particularly in these ever more stress inducing times.

Ready for the top ten most “mindful” games from this study?

1. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
2. Katamari Damacy
3. Tetris
4. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
5. Minecraft
6. No Man’s Sky
7. Euro Truck Simulator
8. House Flipper
9. Firewatch
10. Flower

You can get all the details of the survey and scientific journals used here.

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Yemaya

If you know me, or follow The Magical Buffet on social media, you know I am a lady, who loves worshipping ladies. Aka, I worship the divine feminine in a multitude of her aspects. Knowing this, you’d know why I was thrilled to get a review copy of “Yemaya: Orisha, Goddess, and Queen of the Sea” by Raven Morgaine.

At the core of an outsiders understanding, Yemaya is a goddess of the ocean in Caribbean and African spiritualities. However, anyone familiar with deities know that there is always more to them than what you see at first glance, and Morgaine does an excellent job weaving research and personal experience to flesh out a deity still unknown to many. Depending on her aspect, Yemaya can be a kind giver of life, maternal, a magician, a diviner, or vengeance. Morgaine carefully explains all of this, along with sharing myths and legends of the deity. The author concludes with the ways to include Yemaya in your spiritual practices. Throughout the text you’ll see beautiful artwork done by the author.

Raven Morgaine should write every book about individual deities from here on out. His attention to the nuances of Yemaya is a testament to his skills as a writer, but also his relationship with Yemaya as a devotee. Would he be able to pull this off examining a different deity? I wouldn’t mind finding out. This is a must read for anyone interested in goddesses.

You can learn more here.

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Top Whatever’s of 2021

Way back in 2011 I attended the grand opening of Darkside Records in Poughkeepsie, NY. Since then, they moved to a new, larger location in Poughkeepsie, added tons of new products to their selection, host loads of events, and just overall have become everything good about music retail. Obviously, I follow them on social media, and each January the staff share their top albums of the previous year. They also encourage their customers to share their top picks and then they share them on Darkside’s social media accounts.

For the past few years I’ve wanted to participate, but when I sit down to consider the best albums of the previous year, I realize I hadn’t even listened to 10 new albums, let alone enough new music to proclaim some of them my favorites. So, when 2021 started, I vowed to make listening to new albums a priority and it worked. I listened to 25 new albums in 2021, and picked my favorite ten. And here they are in no particular order:

Stunna GirlStunna This, Stunna That – Essential Track – “Still Smoke”

As soon as I heard “Still Smoke” I was hooked. I still listen to this song nearly daily. “Axel F” by Harold Faltermeyer/”Rockit” by Herbie Hancock has never sounded so bad ass.

Dropkick Murphys Turn Up That Dial – Essential Track – “Queen of Suffolk County”

I’m not going to claim that the Dropkick Murphys did something revolutionary on Turn Up That Dial, however if you like what they do, their 2021 album keeps it going.

WeezerVan Weezer – Essential Track – “Hero”

Can Weezer ever top their debut album? It’s been a much-debated topic in coffee houses everywhere, or at least where I get coffee. The fact is, Weezer is at their best when they keep the touchstone of their debut sound with fun tweaks. The Van Weezer album does that. No, it still isn’t better than the blue album.

Paul WellerFat Pop Vol. 1 – Essential Track – “Shades of Blue”

If you’ve never heard of Paul Weller, get on it. He has a prestigious legacy as being a man who can write a song.

St. VincentDaddy’s Home – Essential Track – “Pay Your Way in Pain”

St. Vincent is a talented and versatile artist. Her 2021 album Daddy’s Home continues her catalog of wickedly impressive work.

AshnikkoDemidevil – Essential Track – “Daisy”

I wish I had saved the tweet to share because shortly after Demidevil released someone on Twitter said they loved how Ashnikko basically released an album saying she wanted to get laid, and um, no lies detected. The album is a trip, and although “Daisy” is what roped me in, I would remiss if I didn’t mention her biting, reimaging of Avril Lavigne’s “Sk8er Boi” as “L8r Boi” or her humorous ode to men not being able to locate a clitoris with “Clitoris! The Musical.”

Liz PhairSobberish – Essential Track – “The Game”

Real talk people, I didn’t anticipate enjoying Liz Phair’s latest album, but damn if I didn’t listen to it repeatedly after taking it for a spin. If you want to recapture the Lilith Fair vibe without feeling dated, this is the album to check out.

Richard ThompsonLive from London – Essential Track “Turning of the Tide”

Richard Thompson is a legend and to be fully transparent I should tell you that he could probably release an album of him singing tax codes and I would rate it as a top album. If you know, you know.

Sleigh BellsTexis – Essential Track – “Locust Laced”

I cannot articulate how much I loved the Sleigh Bells 2010 album Treats, other than to say, a lot. Every album they’ve released since then never really recaptured that magic I felt from their debut album, until Texis. And although I’ll readily admit that it isn’t as good as Treats, the fact that it’s closer than the others makes it a noteworthy release to me.

Lil’ Nas X Montero – Essential Track – “Montero (Call Me By Your Name”)

I suspect Montero will be on a lot of top albums of 2021 lists, and it’s not because of his courage for being an openly gay man in hip-hop, and not because of his amazing music videos, it’s because Montero is just a really good album.

I would be remiss if I didn’t bring to your attention a few artists I’ve fallen in love with in 2021 who didn’t release full albums, but did drop great singles.

Carolesdaughter – “Please Put Me in a Medically Induced Coma” – they also released a great cover of “Creep” and a super catchy tune called “Trailer Trash”.

Ki Storii – “Whole ‘Nother Level”

CupcaKKe – “Huhhhhh”

So, what did you listen to in 2021? Let’s talk about it on The Magical Buffet’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Also, check out Darkside Records!

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The Inner Compass Deck

I was intrigued when Watkins Publishing reached out to me about reviewing “The Inner Compass Deck” by Teal Swan. According to their press release “The Inner Compass Deck” is part of a “new, upcoming trend” of values decks. Decks like these are more about introspection than divination. However, even knowing this I was not mentally prepared for the deck, which is over 200 cards.

Don’t worry, you don’t need to shuffle this deck! Seriously, it’s the first thing people think and ask. What you do need to do, is set aside ample time to work with the deck. “The Inner Compass Deck”, at its heart, is about prioritization. To that end, most of the layouts center around the compass cards: North (The Very Most Important to Me), East (Important to Me), West (Somewhat Important to Me), and South (Not Important to Me). That big ol’ stack contains cards like charisma, fame, determination, gratitude, etc. that you can sort by personal values/priorities.

Most tarot/oracle decks talk about being used for introspection, however “The Inner Compass Deck” by Teal Swan is totally about introspection. If you’re ready to take a long look inside yourself, I HIGHLY recommend this deck.

You can learn more here.

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Moon, Magic, Mythology

Some of you may remember that I reviewed a wonderful book back in 2020 titled “Witchcraft Cocktails: 70 Seasonal Drinks Infused with Magic & Ritual” by Julia Halina Hadas. If you missed that review, you can check it out here. I enjoyed that book so much, I was thrilled to learn she wrote a follow up, “Moon, Magic, Mixology: From Lunar Love Spell Sangria to the Solar Eclipse Sour, 70 Celestial Drinks Infused with Cosmic Power.”

Hadas does a wonderful job acquainting the reader with the importance of the moon, particularly with regards to a magic or spiritual lifestyle. And much like in “Witchcraft Cocktails”, she provides an excellent overview of the tools and ingredients of the bartender, magical or otherwise. “Moon, Magic, Mixology” offers over 70 cocktail recipes tied not only to season, but moon phase. Each recipe also features “More Moon Magic”, which is a section that offers up even more ways to amp up the magical nature of the cocktail.


“Moon, Magic, Mixology” by Julia Halina Hadas offers a unique approach to creating and consuming cocktails. The recipes range from familiar to unusual and from simple mixes to elaborate creations. This would be a fun book for someone looking to jazz up their magical practices, or home bartenders looking to up their game.

You can learn more here.


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10 Questions with Heather Greene

Today we’re talking with editor, author, and journalist Heather Greene about her latest book, “Lights, Camera, Witchcraft: A Critical History of Witches in American Film and Television.”

1. Your latest book is “Lights, Camera, Witchcraft: A Critical History of Witches in American Film and Television.” I guess the most obvious question here is, why explore this particular facet of history?

Stories of witches and witchcraft permeate so much of our culture across time and space. It is a fascination that is made of both adoration and fear, it would seem. In this study, I examined how American pop culture, specifically Hollywood and television, told these age-old stories and defined the character of the witch.

2. Your book discusses a dizzying volume of movies and television shows. Do you have any idea how much time you spent watching movies as research?

I could do some math based on the average length of shows and movies, but no, I do not have a number. In fact, in some cases, I watched the films or shows multiple times for analysis, and I also watched a good number of films not listed or mentioned. So basically, the answer is “a whole lot.”

3. How has the role of women in American culture been reflected by the role of the witch in film?

This is actually one of the main threads in the book. In short, witchcraft is more often than not an allegory for a woman’s or girl’s power. Therefore, the witch character reflects mainstream society’s relationship with that power at any given point in time. When her innate power is feared as in mid-century, the witch is an example of what not to be. When it’s celebrated as in the 1990s, witchcraft is a symbol of feminist expression or so called ‘girl power’. This is just a taste of a complex social history.

4. Overall, how has the witch in cinema evolved?

Again, this is the main thrust of the book itself. A quick answer: the witch began as a copy of stories and lore that had come before and expanded over time with a changing society. Her stories became more involved, more focused on her as a central character, and more nuanced in the definition of magic itself. The witch evolved into a uniquely Hollywood creation and a true reflection of American society’s negotiation of religion, gender, race, ethnicity, and power.

5. Has the portrayal of men as witches been a part of your research?

Yes. While women make up most of Hollywood’s witches, there are some standout male figures, and that needs to be discussed as well. Given that witches have long been associated with women within Western society in general, it is important to examine male representations and the roles that they play. There is a distinct difference and I discuss that point in the book.

6. Do you remember the first witch you saw in American film or television?

I would guess it would be Glinda and The Wicked Witch of the West. I loved The Wizard of Oz. However, it may have been Sabrina the Teenage Witch in her cartoon form or a Disney animated witch.

7. Who’s your favorite fictional witch?

The Wicked Witch of the West, although I’m partial to Looney Tunes’ Witch Hazel and Disney’s Maleficent.

8. Now that you’re done with this book, what are you watching on television?

I’ve been watching some wonderful British films that have absolutely nothing to do with witchcraft. British filmmakers have a wonderful way of telling compelling slice of life stories. The Beautiful Fantastic is one example. However, I did just start watching The Wheel of Time, which is in fact a great addition to the story of the witch on screen.

9. What’s next? Do you have any upcoming projects that my readers should be aware of?

As an acquisition’s editor at Llewellyn, I’m currently spending most of my time working with other authors on their books, which is something that I deeply enjoy. Helping authors go from idea to book-in-hand is fantastic. We like to call ourselves “book midwives.” I do post the books that I work on publicly in my photo library on Facebook. It is called My Llewellyn Book Shelf. https://www.facebook.com/heather.greene.165

I am also a religion journalist, covering predominantly witchcraft and pagan related stories. Readers can follow my work through my Twitter account @miraselena01.

For all my antics in one place, www.heathergreene.net.

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

What is your favorite witch movie and why?

That is a really tough question. When I was young, I went through a pretty hardcore “Bell, Book, and Candle” phase. Then I had the prerequisite “The Craft” love affair. My last witch movie obsession was “Practical Magic”, and I think that may be my favorite. It’s a mature take on magic and witchcraft, with a fantastic cast (Stockard Channing for life yo!), and a Stevie Nicks heavy soundtrack.

About Heather Greene:
Heather Greene is an editor, author, and journalist living in Atlanta, Georgia. She is currently an acquisitions editor with Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd and a freelance religion journalist. She has a BA from Wesleyan University and an MA from Emory University both in Film Studies. Her work can be found at Religion News Service, Religion Unplugged, The Washington Post, Circle Magazine, and The Wild Hunt. Her book “Lights Camera Witchcraft,” tracing witches in American film and television, was released October 2021. She is a member of Covenant of the Goddess, Religion Newswriters Association, and Circle Sanctuary.

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Enchanted Crystal Magic

Anyone who has read The Magical Buffet for a while knows a few things about me: I love eating and drinking, I love pretty much anything written by Claude Lecouteux and Deborah Blake, and lastly, that I LOVE anything crystals. Thusly, I had to check out “Enchanted Crystal Magic: Spells, Grids & Potions to Manifest Your Desires” by Pamela Chen.

Before we dive into the book, I must address the obvious, which is Pamela Chen’s hair is magical af. Seriously. Here is a photo of the author taken by Teresa Torres and do you see what I mean? Words cannot express the level of hair envy I have, and I may never recover. Send help.

Okay, with that out of the way, let’s discuss “Enchanted Crystal Magic”. Chen has a boundless enthusiasm for the topic, and it comes through in her writing. The book is upbeat and conversational. Books about crystals can approach the subject from different angles. Chen offers plenty on the fundamentals of crystals and from there expands into her style of crystal magic, which leans into new thought traditions.

If you’re looking for a fun book about crystals and all the versatile ways they can be used with a new age flavor, “Enchanted Crystal Magic” is the book for you!

You can learn more here.

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Tales of Witchcraft and Wonder

It is no secret that I love Claude Lecouteux. So, let’s not pretend that there’s a chance I won’t like one of his books. The real question is, why is THIS book just as worth reading as his other books?

Today we’re talking about “Tale of Witchcraft and Wonder: The Venomous Maiden and Other Stories of the Supernatural” by Claude and Corinne Lecouteux. This is another fascinating exploration of the evolution of lore from the Middle Ages. The format is wonderful because they share the oldest version of the story, and then they share iteration after iteration of the tale so you can read firsthand how they change. My description may come across as tedious, but to the contrary, it makes for a brisk, entertaining read. You’ll read tales of transformation, devilry, and magic.

If you’ve never tried a Lecouteux book, this is a wonderful place to start. “Tales of Witchcraft and Wonder” delivers on the title and maintains the level of accessible scholarship that we’ve come to associate with Lecouteux.

You can learn more here.

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The Peaceful Protectors

I haven’t heard a lot about coloring books lately. Remember when the marketplace seemed to be flooded with them? Personally, I was sad to see the trend die down. Coloring is a wonderful creative outlet for people like me that love visual arts and are not good at creating them. Which is a polite way to say I can’t draw, okay?

It’s why I was delighted when a publicist reached out to me about “The Peaceful Protectors: Coloring Collection” by Real Weng. She is a freelance artist originally from Taiwan and she has created a beautiful coloring book based on Asian mythology. “The Peaceful Protectors” is 64 pages and features 15 mythical characters turned into 30 floral integrated unique coloring pages and an additional introduction page of the specific character with each image hand drawn by Real Weng.

The artwork is beautiful, and more importantly, done in a way conducive to an enjoyable coloring experience. Hopefully, you’ve never experienced the annoyance of a coloring book that doesn’t accommodate for a person trying to color in the picture. I have, it sucks.

There is no denying that this would be a fantastic holiday gift. You can learn more here.

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31 Subway Drawings

I already wrote my love letter to Keith Haring when I reviewed “Haring-isms” edited by Larry Warsh back in 2020, so I won’t rehash it here. Let’s just say Haring and his art has a special place in my heart. It’s all why I was thrilled when Princeton University Press reached out to me again with a Keith Haring book.

“Keith Haring: 31 Subway Drawings” features a handful (31 to be exact) of examples of Haring’s prolific New York subway graffiti era. The contributions of several authors (Jeffrey Deitch, Henry Geldzahler, Carlo McCormick, and Larry Warsh), including a reprinting of “The Subway is Still My Favorite Place to Draw” by Keith Haring that originally appeared in “Art in Transit: Subway Drawings”, “31 Subway Drawings” re-examines this important era in Haring’s art and public art of the era in general.

Thanks to Larry Warsh’s efforts to collect Haring’s subway chalk drawings (an act he knew Haring wasn’t necessarily a fan of) and photographer Tseng Kwong Chi’s work photographing Haring and his subway art out in the wild, “31 Subway Drawings” does an excellent job showcasing the work.

Here you can see the fruits of Warsh’s and Chi’s labors.


“Keith Haring: 31 Subway Drawings” is sure to be treasured by fans of Haring and the subway graffiti movement of the 1980s. You can learn more here.

Shop your local indie bookstore <---This is an affiliate link to IndieBound, which supports independent bookstores throughout the United States. If you use this link to purchase the book, I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you.

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