The Most-Searched Hulu Original Series

As some of you might remember, from time to time the folks at USDish put together an interesting report that I want to share. This one, “The Most-Searched Hulu Original Series, by State”, I thought I would be ignoring, but then I read it and it prompted feelings in me. Feelings I had to share.

The team at USDISH.com gathered a list of Hulu original television shows from their website. Next, they used the website analytics tool Semrush to collect the average monthly search volume of each Hulu original series. Finally, they used Google Trends to track the search volume for the ten most popular Hulu series in each state and the District of Columbia.


I was pleased to see the reboot for “Animaniacs” came in at the top of list. Although not as good as the original, it definitely had some great bits, and I was pleased to see the gang together again. My state, New York, apparently went with “A Teacher”, which the report says is a series that spurred controversy, but I have not even heard of it. Which is one of the things I wanted to ask? Do people get excited for Hulu originals? Do people get excited about any streaming network originals? The marketplace is SO saturated with content, original or otherwise, it seems hard for the United States to come together and get truly obsessed with a series. It happens. For instance, can you all shut up about “Bridgerton”?

Also, while discussing Hulu originals, I was happy to see that “Solar Opposites” came in first in Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota. Who knew those states had such excellent taste? Please, if you have Hulu and have not watched “Solar Opposites” yet, go watch it. Give it a few episodes, I think you’ll be pleased.

Curious about the other states? Here is how it broke down.

Alabama	        A Teacher
Alaska		Animaniacs
Arizona		Animaniacs
Arkansas	A Teacher
California	Animaniacs
Colorado	Castle Rock
Connecticut	The Handmaid's Tale
Delaware	Animaniacs
D.C.            Mrs. America
Florida		A Teacher
Georgia		A Teacher
Hawaii		Animaniacs
Idaho		Solar Opposites
Illinois	Animaniacs
Indiana		Animaniacs
Iowa		The Act
Kansas		Animaniacs
Kentucky	Animaniacs
Louisiana	A Teacher
Maine		The Handmaid's Tale
Maryland	Animaniacs
Massachusetts	The Handmaid's Tale
Michigan	Animaniacs
Minnesota	The Handmaid's Tale
Mississippi	A Teacher
Missouri	Animaniacs
Montana	        Solar Opposites
Nebraska	Animaniacs
Nevada		Animaniacs
New Hampshire	The Handmaid's Tale
New Jersey	A Teacher
New Mexico	Animaniacs
New York	A Teacher
North Carolina	A Teacher
North Dakota	A Teacher
Ohio		Animaniacs
Oklahoma	Animaniacs
Oregon		Animaniacs
Pennsylvania	The Handmaid's Tale
Rhode Island	Little Fires Everywhere
South Carolina	A Teacher
South Dakota	Solar Opposites
Tennessee	Animaniacs
Texas		A Teacher
Utah		Animaniacs
Vermont	        The Handmaid's Tale
Virginia	Animaniacs
Washington	Animaniacs
West Virginia	The Handmaid's Tale
Wisconsin	The Handmaid's Tale
Wyoming	        The Act

You can view the report and all its details here.

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Foods That Can Improve Your Mental Health

By Dr. Robert Kiltz

The link between diet and mental health is a relatively new discovery, but not all that surprising considering the way our bodily systems are all interconnected.

Interestingly, the majority (over 95%) of the body’s serotonin (a.k.a. the feel-good hormone) is produced in the gut. There’s a whole network of neural tissue lining our guts that make up the enteric nervous system. This is why the gut is often referred to as “the second brain” and is so intimately linked to mental health. There’s a lot more going on in the G.I. tract than just digestion. We’ve all seen this first hand. Anxiety and nervousness can produce “butterflies” in the stomach or a slightly nauseous feeling. This is the brain-gut connection at work signaling a physiological stress response. The gut responds to the brain, but it goes the other way too; our brain also responds to signals from our gut. Scientists have discovered that about 90 percent of the fibers in the vagus nerve, the primary visceral nerve, carry information from the gut to the brain and not the other way around. Our “second brain” also plays a huge role in immune response.

Inflammation is our body’s natural immune response to help protect and heal, but when it doesn’t turn off and simmers at a chronic level, inflammation begins to damage healthy cells, contributing to a long list of diseases, including infertility, which I’ve spent my career as a reproductive endocrinologist trying to defeat. Inflammation is often a direct result of the foods we eat—too much sugar, too many carbs and processed foods, not enough fat—and how frequently we eat them (which is why I recommend giving intermittent fasting a try).

Foods to Improve Mental Health

A high-fat, low-carb diet helps to reduce inflammation and balance hormones both of which can improve mental health. When the body is deficient in certain vitamins and proteins, it can disrupt moods and contribute to mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. Eating foods rich in vitamins and proteins is a smart choice because they are believed to play a role in the brain’s production of serotonin, dopamine, and other brain chemicals that contribute to and control moods. Foods rich in Vitamin B (like liver and red meat) help combat depression and irritability. Iron-rich foods help with the production of brain chemicals that regulate mood.

Here’s a list of diet mainstays that can improve your mental health and a lot of other medical conditions too, including infertility.

Liver & Steak
Liver and steak are great sources of protein and fat, and just so happen to be the best source of vitamins, packing an even bigger nutritional punch than traditional “superfoods” like blueberries or kale.

Liver is a premium source of vitamins B12, C, E, D, Co-Q10, Zinc, Folate, and fat. Steak is a close runner-up in nutrients.

Eggs
Eggs are another superfood packed with nutrients in a perfect little package: protein, Vitamin A, D, E, K, B12, folate, and even the beneficial antioxidant lutein. Eggs are also a rich source of choline. The body needs to obtain a majority of its required choline from diet, as it can only naturally produce a limited amount.

Salmon, Sardines, and Other High Omega-3 Fish
Salmon is an oily fish that is packed with protein, omega 3s, and essential fatty acids. Interestingly, depression appears to be less common in countries where people eat large amounts of fish. Two omega-3 fatty acids — eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) found primarily in fish oil — are thought to have the biggest potential to benefit people with mood disorders through two primary mechanisms: (1) omega-3s easily travel through the brain cell membrane and interact with mood-related molecules inside the brain; and (2) they have an anti-inflammatory effect that can help relieve depression. Children and adolescents with depression may also benefit from omega-3 supplementation.

Butter & Other Full-Fat Dairy
Natural fats from butter, cream, whole milk, and full-fat yogurt are needed to keep the lymphatic system running. Eating fat lubricates the lymphatics and filters out harmful pathogens to protect the body from illness-causing invaders. The lymphatic system is critical to maintaining optimal health. It is part of the circulatory system and the immune system. Besides being a rich source of cholesterol, full-fat dairy also contains many nutrients.

Berries
Berries are a healthy, sweet, and sometimes sour, tasty snack. They are loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients that are known to combat inflammation. Berries are also high in folate and vitamin C.

Beans & Lentils
Beans and lentils have vitamin B, which can help improve depression and irritability. They also contribute to the production of serotonin.

Our Brains Need Fat & Cholesterol

Despite the popular misconception, our bodies need fat. It’s the building block for our brains, and our best source of cellular energy. Eating fat is one of the easiest ways to reduce inflammation and improve immunologic function. The human brain is nearly 60% fat and requires both saturated and unsaturated fats to provide a balance of structural integrity and fluidity to its cells. More specifically, our brains need EPA and DHA–neither of which exist in plant foods. EPA has an anti-inflammatory effect and helps with healing. DHA serves many functions. It helps with the formation of myelin, the white matter that insulates our brain circuits. It also helps maintain the integrity of the blood-brain barrier, which keeps the brain safe from unwanted outside influences. But most importantly, DHA is critical to the development of the human cortex—the part of the brain responsible for higher-order thinking. Without DHA, consciousness and symbolic thinking—essentially what makes us humans—would be impossible.

Cholesterol is essential too. It gives our cells the required stiffness and stability and is vital for the production and function of serotonin receptors in the brain. Low cholesterol levels have been linked to depression and aggression. Antidepressants often don’t work for patients who are eating a vegetarian diet. Cholesterol acts as a precursor to important hormones that help us deal with stress and protect the body against cancer and heart disease.

This is why fatty meats, fish, and full-fat dairy all top the list of foods that contribute to good mental health. These combined with other low carb and low-sugar foods are building blocks for good physical and mental health.

Foods to Avoid

And if you’re wondering which foods to avoid, I recommend limiting or removing the five biggest inflammation producers in our diets: plant toxins, vegetable & seed oils, carbohydrates & added sugars, trans fats, and too much alcohol. These foods expose people to high levels of known inflammatory compounds.

Don’t Forget Your Supplements!

It can be challenging to get all of the essential vitamins and minerals through diet alone. Even the healthiest eaters are likely low in some vitamins and minerals, particularly those who consume fruits and vegetables as the bulk of their diet. Supplements are a great way to support total body and mental health.

My Nutritional Solutions line of supplements was designed with just this purpose in mind: to provide a convenient, high-quality source for essential vitamins, minerals, collagens, proteins, growth factors, unique enzymes, and co-factors that only exist in tissue specific organs. We use superior, grass-fed cattle as our primary source. State-of-the-art freeze drying and hydrolysis processing techniques ensure optimal nutrient preservation and bioavailability. Dr. Kiltz’s Nutritional Solutions products are hormone, pesticide, and GMO- free and contain no fillers, flow agents, or other additives. I recommend my Grass-Fed Beef Liver, Grass-Fed Organ Meats, and Grass-Fed Connective Tissue supplements. These all come in capsule form to make getting the very best nutrients easy and convenient.

About Dr. Robert Kiltz:
Dr. Robert Kiltz is a board-certified OB/GYN and reproductive endocrinologist, and Founder and Director of CNY Fertility, one of the largest and most dynamic fertility centers in the country, featured in the Wall Street Journal, Today Show, and CNBC for helping shape the future of fertility medicine. Dr. Kiltz has earned recognition outside of the fertility world for pioneering the holistic health movement and the keto lifestyle. He is the author of several books including The Fertile Feast and Daily Inspirations, and his latest, Living Your Best Life: How to Think, Eat, and Connect your Way to a Better Flow which released April 2021. In addition to his own media outlets, Dr. Kiltz appears regularly on numerous popular blogs and has shared his views as a TEDx speaker.

For more information, check out www.doctorkiltz.com or follow Dr. Kiltz on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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Cooking with Disney Villains

When I posted this book on social media, you guys were EXTREMELY interested. I think this proves that one of the best ideas Disney has had is creating a “villains” franchise. It certainly took them long enough to realize that princesses are nice, but villains are where the fun is to be found. Obviously, Insight Editions and author Julie Tremaine agree because they published and wrote, respectively, “Disney Villains Devilishly Delicious Cookbook: 50+ Dishes Inspired by Your Favorite Villains, Including Ursula, Scar, and Cruella De Vil.”

Let us tell you the thing you most want to know first, what villains are represented in this book?
Tamatoa from Moana
Flotsam and Jetsam from The Little Mermaid
Dr. Facilier from The Princess and the Frog
Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty
Iago from Aladdin
Gaston from Beauty and the Beast
Lady Tremaine from Cinderella
Scar from The Lion King
Cruella De Vil from 101 Dalmatians
Ursula from The Little Mermaid
Hades from Hercules
Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland
Mother Gothel from Tangled
Jafar from Aladdin
Madam Mim from The Sword in the Stone
Mr. Smee from Peter Pan
Evil Queen from Cinderella
Captain Hook from Peter Pan
Chernabog from Fantasia
Shere Khan from The Jungle Book
Anastasia and Drizella from Cinderella

Yes, villains new and old are well-represented throughout the book. The variety of food and beverage recipes is just as diverse. Tremaine does an excellent job of offering beginner friendly recipes, such as Jolly Roger Brisket, Flotsam & Jetsam Party Mix, and Hypnotizing Snake Staffs, but also supplying more complicated recipes for chefs looking for a challenge, such as Voodoo Top Hat Cake, Huntsman’s Pie, and Poor Unfortunate Rolls.

Obviously, I needed to try a recipe and I chose a beginner friendly recipe that I thought would go well at a barbeque that I was invited to, Horrible Wholesome Sunshine Salad. Its name is based off a quote Madam Mim says in The Sword in the Stone, “I hate sunshine! I hate horrible wholesome sunshine! I hate it!”


As you can see, as promised it was a simple recipe that does not require too much in the way of ingredients. Unfortunately, my local grocery store was lacking in citrus diversity and was out of fresh mint, so I was forced to use dry.


That said, this recipe came out great! Light, refreshing, healthy, and went great with all the assorted grilled meats.

Is “Disney Villains Devilishly Delicious Cookbook” by Julie Tremaine a necessary cookbook? Not really. However, if you love Disney villains and cooking, Tremaine’s book is absolutely worth every penny!

You can learn more here.

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Occult Botany Review and Giveaway

I have got some SUPER, SUPER sexy book porn for you today! I have the translated, edited, and annotated “Occult Botany: Sedir’s Concise Guide to Magical Plants” by Paul Sedir. Sedir, pseudonym of Yvon Le Loup, passed away in 1926, but not before becoming a pivotal figure in the French occult revival. “Occult Botany” was first published in 1902 as a textbook for students of Papus’s Ecole hermetique where he was a professor. This is being presented in a 448-page hardcover tome loaded with original illustrations and built-in ribbon bookmark. I told you it was sexy!

As much as there is to applaud and celebrate with this text coming back in to print, we first need to appreciate R. Bailey, who went above and beyond in the translation of “Occult Botany”. If you treat yourself to this book, and you rightfully should, do not ignore the “Translator’s Forward”. Bailey provides us with a brief biography of Sedir and explains the sometimes-convoluted hoops he had to jump through to insure that “Occult Botany” was understood by modern readers. Bailey translated French and Latin, astrological and elemental symbols, AND used other texts that were available during Sedir’s time to help fill in any gaps that were discovered. All of this carefully noted so that the reader can clearly tell where everything is from. Seriously.

Now that I spent a whole paragraph praising the translator, let’s say we actually discuss what Sedir offers in “Occult Botany”? This book is a wonderful, if sometimes dated, resource for lovers of plants and their magical potential. Part One, “The Plant Kingdom”, discusses the vital forces at play in the plant kingdom. The assorted correspondences between individual plants and the planets, colors, aromas, and flavors. Part Two, “Plants and Humans”, explores the nature of our relationship with plants. Sedir talks about plants restoring organic deficiencies in the physical body, restoring electromagnetic deficiencies through herbal therapeutics, and help heal the astral body through their incorporation into rituals. He also suggests humans can return the favor by cultivating them using occult horticulture, restore them with vegetation magic, and resurrect them using plant palingenesis (reproduction of ancestral characteristics in the development of an individual organism). Part Three, “A Concise Dictionary of Magical Plants.” Here are individual plants with illustrations, their elemental qualities, ruling planets, zodiacal signatures, and occult properties.

“Occult Botany” has 3 appendixes. Appendix One is devoted to occult medicine. Sedir defines occult medicine as, “any therapeutic system that, when confronted with the pathological symptoms of the physical body, bases its diagnoses on an astral examination of the patient and treats the patient’s life force in its invisible form.” Appendix Two is dedicated to Paracelsian physiology, an early medical movement based on achieving balance of the body’s microcosm and macrocosm. The last appendix is “On Opium Use”. Yes, opium. I won’t tell you what Sedir says about it, you’ll have to read the book to find out!

You can learn more here.

Are you interested in the sexy hunk of book? Then I have got great news for you! The wonderful folks at Inner Traditions sent me an extra copy of “Occult Botany,” so giveaway! As usual, I’ll be using Rafflecopter. Due to the sheer mass that is this book, this giveaway will only be open to those residing in the United States and over 18 years of age. The giveaway closes on July 10, 2021 at 11:59pm eastern.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Auroral Magic

It’s no secret that I love music, and I enjoy a diverse variety. However, I will admit to never being on top of the new age music scene. Fortunately, from time to time someone will reach out to me and make sure I listen to something. So, a big thank you to Windy for emailing me about this one!

Today we’re looking at, or at least listening to, Michigan artist Chakuna Machi Asa’s new album “Auroral Magic”. I’m not familiar with this artist, so do not as me if that is her actual name. She draws on her Nordic/Scandinavian ancestry in her music, so um, yeah. Personal identifiers aside, “Auroral Magic” is a wonderful journey. I listened to the whole album on an overcast day with scattered storms and it fit that mood perfectly. “Auroral Magic” is atmospheric and cinematic. I guess what I am saying is that it would make an excellent soundtrack? Honestly, I’m not sure what I’m trying to say. Chakuna Machi Asa blends piano, nature sounds, chants, and strings to create a magical album. At the end of the say, shouldn’t any new age album feel magical?

You can listen/watch the video for the title track here:

You can learn more here

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Animal Love Oracle Cards

Okay, here’s the deal. I had NO intention of reviewing “Animal Love Oracle Cards” by Nadine Gordon-Taylor. Apparently in this instance I have the brain of a 12-year-old boy and the name kept making me smirk and/or chuckle like Beavis and Butthead. I’m not proud of it, but at least I’m honest. However, I took my time putting the box away, and with time I noticed the adorable cow in the corner of the cover. Eventually the cute cow wore me down and I cracked open the deck.

With no further smirking, let’s take it from the top. We’re looking at “Animal Love Oracle Cards: Advice, Compassion & Wisdom from Our Animal Mentors” that was written AND illustrated by Nadine Gordon-Taylor. If you know me, you know I have a soft spot for decks that are illustrated and written/designed by the same person. Mainly I’m envious of their skill, but also, it’s nice to see the result of a fully integrated deck idea.

Gordon-Taylor has taken her research on animals in symbolism, religion, and global cultures and condensed it into wholesome, loving, positive messages from the animals to you. The animal selection is wonderful! You’ll find everyday critters, such as Chipmunk, Cat, and my friend Cow, less run of the mill creatures like Hippopotamus, Elephant, and Dolphin, and even the downright mythological! The deck is 52 full-color cards that like all oracle decks can be used in any way you want. Like I do with most oracle decks, I recommend and prefer the single card draw.

If you love animals, and want a different way to celebrate them, you should consider “Animal Love Oracle Cards” by Nadine Gordon-Taylor.

You can learn more here.

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The Modern Witchcraft Guide to Fairies

If you follow The Magical Buffet on social media (and you should), you might have saw a photo I posted of my adorable pitbull mix Sarah snoozing with Skye Alexander’s latest book “The Modern Witchcraft Guide to Fairies.” I asked if people were interested in a review and unsurprisingly, the general response was “yes.” This is because Sarah makes EVERYTHING look awesome, I’m sure. However, in taking a second glance at the text to start my review I realized that the author did an excellent job summing up her book in the introduction. Honestly, every time I started to write my review it kept reading like a rehash of her work. The kind people at Adams Media are allowing me to cut out the middle man, who in this case is me, and publish Alexander’s introduction here for you to read!

Introduction to The Modern Witchcraft Guide to Fairies by Skye Alexander

When you hear the word “fairy,” what image comes to mind? A miniature girl with gossamer wings and a sparkly dress, a la Disney’s version of Tinker Bell? A benevolent creature who flits about sprinkling fairy dust everywhere, waving her wand to make children’s wishes come true? If so, you’re in for a surprise.

Like unicorns and mermaids, these magickal entities have been denatured by pop culture, robbed of their mystique and majesty. The fairies of old were nothing like the sugar-coated cartoon characters we envision today. They were powerful beings of a semi-divine nature, who may have descended from the gods and goddesses. According to some tales, they served as the prototypes from which the human race evolved. They possessed amazing, supernatural powers—they could fly, make themselves invisible, shapeshift into humans, animals, plants, or stones, and they lived forever. Some aided human beings, but many were mischievous or even malevolent.

The English word “fairy” may have come from the Latin fatum, meaning “fate,” as did the French derivative fée, the Italian fata, and the Portuguese fada. According to some legends, fairies controlled human destiny. They showed up at a baby’s birth to celebrate the new arrival, as the story of Sleeping Beauty tells us, and to determine the child’s future—which depended on how the parents treated the fairies.

Fairies could provide healing and protection from harm, but they could also inflict illness, shipwreck sailors, and cause soldiers to falter on the battlefield. They could bring riches, but they might also blight crops, destroy livestock, and steal children. As in the human world, the fairy realm has its good guys and its bad actors. Wiccans who follow the Wiccan Rede will not use their connections to fairies for harm; instead, they’ll finds ways to harness their powers for the good of all.

How to Use this Book

In this book, you’ll learn how to reconnect, through Wiccan practices, with these magickal beings who fascinated and frightened our ancestors. You’ll gain insight into their characteristics and behavior. You’ll find out where and how they live. You’ll discover ways to attract and interact safely with fairy helpers. In doing so, if the fairies are friendly, you can improve and enhance your Wiccan powers.

In Part One, I discuss the long-standing links between witches and fairies. Our ancestors believed witches and fairies shared numerous powers, including the ability to control the weather. According to some sources, the fairies taught witches their craft. I also talk about why the two groups can benefit from collaborating today and how working together can help not only us but the planet as well.

You’ll meet some of the best-known fairy families and learn about various types of fairies with whom you may want to do magick—and some you should avoid. Like people, some fairies are better suited to certain kinds of spellwork than others. For instance, leprechauns are solitary old guys and wouldn’t be much good at casting love spells— but they’re skilled in money matters and can help you prosper financially. Nature fairies, who care for the plant world, could be great allies for green witches. I also share some of the things I’ve discovered about where to look for fairies and how to entice them to partner with you, because they’re usually reluctant to deal with humans. Additionally, you’ll learn how to avoid offending the fae, who can be dangerous enemies if you get on the wrong side of them.

Part Two is an open grimoire of spells, rituals, and other activities you can do with the fairies. Each chapter focuses on a particular area of life, such as love, prosperity, protection, healing, and so on. I’ve included a chapter of magickal activities to engage in with the fae on each of the eight sabbats too. Some of these practices will be familiar to you—if you’ve been following the witch’s way for any length of time, you’ve surely used candles, herbs, and gemstones in your work. Performing them with fairies, however, will add a new dimension. Other techniques, such as shapeshifting and shamanic journeying, may be new to you—especially if you’re visiting fairyland for the first time. At the beginning of each chapter, I suggest certain types of fairies that I think might be the most willing and able to assist you in your spellcraft.

At the end of the book is an Appendix that I hope you’ll find helpful and easy to use. This isn’t intended to be all-inclusive—it’s not an encyclopedia—but it can serve as quick reference guide when you’re deciding what to factor into your spells.

Working with the fae and integrating them into your Wiccan practices can be a rewarding experience that brings added depth and breadth to your magickal endeavors. It will enrich your self-knowledge and power. Allying yourself with fairies will also increase your appreciation for the natural world, other worlds, and for all beings who inhabit the physical and nonphysical realms. If you feel drawn to follow this path, you’ll be rewarded on your journey. But proceed with care.

Blessed Be.

About Skye Alexander:
Skye Alexander is the award-winning author of more than thirty fiction and nonfiction books, including “Your Goddess Year”, “The Only Tarot Book You’ll Ever Need”, “The Modern Guide to Witchcraft”, “The Modern Witchcraft Spell Book”, “The Modern Witchcraft Grimoire”, “The Modern Witchcraft Book of Tarot”, and “The Modern Witchcraft Book of Love Spells”. Her stories have been published in anthologies internationally, and her work has been translated into more than a dozen languages. The Discovery Channel featured her in the TV special, Secret Stonehenge, doing a ritual at Stonehenge. She divides her time between Texas and Massachusetts.

Excerpted from The Modern Witchcraft Guide to Fairies by Skye Alexander. Copyright © 2021 by Simon & Schuster, Inc. Used with permission of the publisher, Adams Media, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. All rights reserved.

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Anatomy of a Witch

Laura Tempest Zakroff set out to write a “manual to the most magical tool in your possession,” and in this, she succeeded. What is this amazing tool? Your body. Welcome to “Anatomy of a Witch: A Map to the Magical Body.”

Zakroff utilizes all the tools at her disposal: tarot, meditation, journaling, ritual, her artistic talent (including her noteworthy sigil work) and writing skills to take you on a journey through your body. “Anatomy of a Witch” begins with lungs, moves to the heart, discusses the body’s primal part (referred to as the Serpent), moves on to the bones, and concludes with the mind. The end goal is to have a better relationship with yourself and your magic.

“Anatomy of a Witch” is a triumph of blending magical modalities and self-improvement. Essentially, if you have a body (even one as dysfunctional as mine!), you need this book. I feel this is destined to be a classic!

You can learn more here.

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How Witchcraft Saved My Life

I just didn’t know what to expect from “How Witchcraft Saved My Life: Practical Advice for Transformative Magick” by Vincent Higginbotham. The title has a “very special episode of Donahue” kind of vibe to it. And truth be told, it’s hard to determine exactly what I read and how to write a review.

Higginbotham has written an incredibly frank memoir of his past struggles with homelessness, understanding his sexuality, and journey to witchcraft. “How Witchcraft Saved My Life” is a brave work and not for the faint of heart. Woven throughout this memoir are the signs and synchronicities that in retrospect showed Higginbotham the magic that had been in his life all along.

What you’ll also find in “How Witchcraft Saved My Life” is some incredibly practical, realistic, advice on how to practice witchcraft and incorporate it into your everyday life. Seriously, his approach to witchcraft, paired with his writing voice, makes Higginbotham an accessible teacher of his style of witchcraft.

“How Witchcraft Saved My Life” is a testament to Vincent Higginbotham’s perseverance and the witchcraft that he credits for it.

You can learn more here.

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The Ancestral Power of Amulets, Talismans, and Mascots

It’s safe to say that I’ve become a Nigel Pennick fan. You may remember I reviewed his books “Witchcraft & Secret Societies of Rural England: The Magic of Toadmen, Plough Witches, Mummers, and Bonesmen” and “Operative Witchcraft: Spellwork & Herbcraft in the British Isles”. His latest book, “The Ancestral Power of Amulets, Talismans, and Mascots: Folk Magic in Witchcraft and Religion” is destined to be my favorite.

“Things worn around the neck as pendants or carried somewhere on the person are generally amulets. The belief that certain objects, natural or artificial, composed of metals, stone, clay, or other materials sometimes possess occult powers capable of protecting those who carry them from danger, disease, or evil influences,” writes Pennick, “The word talisman has the meaning of objects bearing sigils, seals, or magical or religious texts that have been empowered by consecration or ritual. Like amulets, their function is to protect the person from evil, illness, and bodily harm.”

This is of particular interest to me because if you didn’t know, I make talismans. (SHAMELESS PLUG: Visit my store! Buy my stuff!) “The Ancestral Power of Amulets, Talismans, and Mascots” opened my eyes to all the ways people of different cultures and eras created and utilized amulets, charms, and mascots. As always, religion played a heavy hand in their evolution, but so has community tradition. Pennick has an impressive personal collection of these items and thankfully shared much of it as photos in the book. So many wonderful photos and illustrations!

I’m not going to say that “The Ancestral Power of Amulets, Talismans, and Mascots” by Nigel Pennick is for everyone, but if you ever found yourself curious about some of the symbols you see people wearing or adorning their homes with, this is absolutely the perfect book for you.

You can learn more here.

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