Secrets of Santa Muerte

Like many people, I first heard of Santa Muerte in a news story about Mexican drug cartels. In articles like that one, Santa Muerte is a narco-saint, a goddess of bad men. Obviously, my curiosity was piqued. Misunderstood goddesses, goddesses that have been shunned, and just goddesses with bad reputations are my favorite. And I was certain, that like others that had come to my attention before Her, I would learn that there was more to Santa Muerte than meets the eye. Not to brag, but I was right.

To put it simply, and in the most general terms, Santa Muerte is a death goddess. She represents death and everything that can entail: protection, vengeance, justice, innocence, wisdom, and much more. You can revere Her and pray to Her as a distant goddess, or you can have a transactional relationship where you curry favor and make deals. With all of this going on, Santa Muerte can be a confusing deity to work with. In comes “Secrets of Santa Muerte: A Guide to the Prayers, Spells, Rituals, and Hexes” by Cressida Stone.

If you fall into the middle of the Venn diagram of people interested in Santa Muerte and people who are on Twitter, you’re probably familiar with Cressida Stone. She is a longtime devotee and deferred to Twitter Santa Muerte expert looked to only slightly less than internationally recognized Santa Muerte academic Dr. R. Andrew Chesnut, who coincidentally endorsed this book. Stone has worked with Santa Muerte temples and shrines throughout the world to learn the prayers, symbolism, rituals, hexes, and offerings of Santa Muerte.

“Secrets of Santa Muerte” is a wonderful introduction to the goddess. Stone does an excellent job organizing the vast wealth of Santa Muerte information available. Not only did “Secrets of Santa Muerte” introduce me to all the facets of this goddess, but gave me new ideas of how to work with her. Ideas that I hope to incorporate into my wider divine feminine practice.

You can learn more here.

Get your own copy here. (This is an affiliate link to my Bookshop, 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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The Little Book of Satanism

Not to sound too much like Jerry Seinfeld, but what’s the deal with Satanism? Particularly, what’s the deal with our culture’s hang up about it? The answer seems obvious to most. Satan equals evil, so Satanism equals bad. It appears to be basic math, but it’s not that straightforward when you look closer at the history of Satan and those who have chosen to ally themselves with the Devil. Fortunately, alternative culture journalist La Carmina has laid it all out for us in her book, “The Little Book of Satanism: A Guide to Satanic History, Culture, and Wisdom.”

It is no easy task to unweave the tapestry that creates what Satanism is today, but La Carmina does an excellent job untangling the web and laying out a timeline for us to follow. “The Little Book of Satanism” begins in a time when there was no Satan, takes us to Satan’s Judeo-Christian debut, discusses some name branding with Lucifer, explores how “others” were by default tools of Satan in the Middle Ages, more branding courtesy of Dante and Faust, the witch hunts, the Hellfire Club, Satanic Panic, and public practitioners and organizations of today. It is an interesting journey, and once given context from the author’s research, it seems inevitable that there would be Satanists today.

La Carmina’s work explains many of the common symbols and beliefs of the modern Satanist, and highlights individuals and organizations of the past and present. You’ll find LaVey and the Church of Satan, the Process Church of the Final Judgment, Aleister Crowley, and The Satanic Temple. In fact, Temple co-founder Lucien Greaves provides an elegant foreward for “The Little Book of Satanism.”

In “The Little Book of Satanism,” author La Carmina makes a compelling argument for modern Satanism and the role a modern take on Satan could play in your personal spiritual practices. If you’re even slightly curious, I highly recommend getting yourself a copy of this book.

You can learn more here.

Get your own copy here. (This is an affiliate link to my Bookshop, 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.)

Do you enjoy The Magical Buffet? Considering supporting The Magical Buffet on Patreon! For only $5 a month you’ll receive monthly tarot/oracle forecasts, classes, and behind the scenes updates! Https://www.patreon.com/magicalbuffet

The Hermetic Physician

It’s time for 100% complete honesty. I had no intention of reading “The Hermetic Physician: The Magical Teachings of Giuliano Kremmerz and the Fraternity of Myriam” by Marco Daffi and translated by David Pantano. If you’re a Patron, you would know what books coming out pique my interest, and this wasn’t on the list. However, David Pantano reached out to me about endorsing his book and I was so flattered I couldn’t refuse.

Thank goodness I said yes, because I would have missed out on a pretty inspiring book. Kremmerz was an Italian occultist that studied everything with an eye towards benefitting humanity’s health. Kremmerz felt he had found a way to use hermetic, magical, and Pythagorean principles to heal others, even from a distance. Daffi and Pantano assembled Kremmerz’s writings to provide an unbiased presentation of his beliefs, practices, and the workings of the Therapeutic and Magical Fraternity of Myriam, which he founded. I’ve recently been reading several books about occult societies and let me tell you, this one didn’t last, but reads on paper way better than many that have.

I’m not going to say that “The Hermetic Physician” sold me on the miracles Kremmerz claimed to be able to perform, but what it did do was introduce me to an occultist worth reading and considering.

“The Hermetic Physician: The Magical Teachings of Giuliano Kremmerz and the Fraternity of Myriam” by Marco Daffi and translated by David Pantano is coming out in September, but you can preorder it now.

You can learn more here.

Get your own copy here. (This is an affiliate link to my Bookshop, 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.)

Do you enjoy The Magical Buffet? Considering supporting The Magical Buffet on Patreon! For only $5 a month you’ll receive monthly tarot/oracle forecasts, classes, and behind the scenes updates! Https://www.patreon.com/magicalbuffet

10 Questions with S. Elizabeth

Today we’re talking with S. Elizabeth, writer and curator extraordinaire of “The Art of the Occult” and “The Art of Darkness.”

1. I became familiar with you when your previous book “The Art of the Occult” released, and now you’re back with “The Art of Darkness: A Treasury of the Morbid, Melancholic and Macabre.” Was it hard to convince your publisher that there was an audience for books discussing art?

I don’t think it took much convincing at at all, and as it happens, my editor is the one who pitched both ideas to me! She reached out to me originally in 2019 for The Art of the Occult, a book which she had the idea for, she just needed someone to write it! I am not sure how she happened upon me and I have never asked (I’m weirdly shy to ask such a thing!) but I imagine it’s because I have been writing about art and artists for well over a decade now, and many of these artists have esoteric or occult leanings. I have been privileged to work with the same editor at the same publisher over the past 3 years, and I think for the most part she really “gets” me. She’s the impetus for The Art of Darkness as well–she presented the idea to me! And this publisher, The Quarto Group, as far as I can tell, is very big on art and artists, that’s very much their thing, to publish inspiring niche-interest books are visually appealing, information rich, and stimulating.

2. What is your process for selecting art for these books? Do you need to seek permission to use works of art in your books?

I’ve been collecting art online for as long as I’ve been online…I’ve been keeping a sort of mental rolodex for the past 20 years! So for both books, I already had so many works in mind for each of the projects. What I did is I started with a wish list of hundreds of artists that I would like to include in the book, which I would then share with my editor, who would give me feedback. Feedback usually looked like “too illustrative or too comic book-y or cartoon-y “or what have you (those pieces absolutely have a place in the art world and in my heart, but they may have not been quite the right fit for the books, I get it, even if I might have been a little disappointed!) So I would whittle down my list and build it back up based on loads of research and my editor’s suggestions, and then when I had a good-sized list to look at, I would look it over with an eye toward building groupings of images based on themes. I didn’t want the chapters ordered chronologically, or in terms of art movements, I wanted something that felt much more interesting and imaginative. So after some thought, I structured The Art of Darkness into three parts, each broken down further into four chapters. So you’d have something like Part I: It’s All In Your Head, in which we would then have chapters about dreams and nightmares, psychological distress and whispers from the void. Further parts include The Human Condition, The World Around Us, and Visions from Beyond. I am really quite pleased with how it all pulled together!

AND YES ABSOLUTELY. Permission to use the artwork is a MUST and it is a PROCESS. Gathering the permissions nearly takes as long as writing the book. Some images are in the public domain, and some can be acquired from museums and galleries, but there is a lot of reaching out to individual artists that has to occur, as well. And I did a lot of that work myself…and it’s not exactly a straightforward process. Between tracking down contact information for the artist (if they are still alive, that is–otherwise, you might be dealing with galleries, estates, etc.) and actually finding them and receiving those permissions, you then have the concern of whether or not the artist can provide a high-enough resolution of the work, whether it fits with the layout of the book, and to backtrack a bit–whether or not the publisher even agrees that the images you’ve suggested will be appropriate for the overall project. In the course of this process of research and reaching out, which was never tedious, believe it or not–I love to track down elusive art and artists!– I got a lot of email bounce backs, and oftentimes even if the email appeared to go through, there were a handful of artists I never heard back from. Sometimes I did get a response and received a “no” right off the bat. Sometimes, too, this occurred after some back and forth between myself and the artist, and we arrived at the determination that maybe my book wasn’t a good fit for their artistic vision. And that’s OK! It really is. It’s not all going to work out, and you can’t always get everything you want, and after getting over a bit of initial frustration, I frequently came to the conclusion that it was probably for the best.

With regard to those artists who are no longer with us, sometimes I couldn’t track down an estate contact, and when I did I never heard back from them. If it was the publisher reaching out, sometimes they either couldn’t come to an agreement or they were perhaps unable to acquire a high enough resolution image that would work for this particular print medium.

I know that was a lot of not -terribly-interesting info and not everyone cares how the sausage is made, but that all brings me to a point that I cannot stress enough. There are always going to be readers or critics who say “oh, I can’t believe she forgot to include X/Y/Z artist!” All of that boring explanation I gave just now? Any one of those reasons could be why I was unable to include such-and-such or so-and-so. It’s so galling that people automatically presume that I (or anyone in this position) “forgot.” Okay, so I don’t want to end that thought on a negative note, but that’s just something that always burns my muffins. Ugh.

3. After “The Art of the Occult”, what made you decide that darkness would be a good theme to explore, and were your publishers like, “What?”

I believe what happened is that over the course of working with me on The Art of the Occult, my editor had seen a blog post of mine in which I wrote about where my fascination with horror/darkness grew from, and the idea for The Art of Darkness was born from that. She came to me with a mostly fully fleshed out pitch, we built it out a little and she took it to the marketing team, who, I am told, loved the idea. I don’t quite get how that end of it works, and I realize that most of the time, probably none of it works that way at all, so I got pretty lucky! Sometimes we’re just too close to a thing to even think about it as a viable idea that others might have an interest in, so I wonder if it it ever would have occurred to me to write such a book if it wasn’t suggested to me? Maybe …? Who knows! I am glad I don’t have to guess. I will share that at first they wanted to call it “The Art of the Macabre,” and to be honest I didn’t love that. I feel like you’re going into that knowing exactly what you’re going to get. The Art of Darkness, though? That’s a bit more nebulous, there’s some mystery there. I liked that, and I really pushed for it.

4. What is the importance of exploring dark themes in artwork?

Well, The Art of Darkness was conceived of at a time when “Good Vibes Only” was a big thing that influencers and wellness gurus were all espousing. And that really rubbed me the wrong way. We’ve since started talking about that attitude as “toxic positivity” and I was sort of thinking of this book as the antidote to aggressively good vibes. A way to sit in a safe space with unpleasant, distressing, things that don’t feel good, and maybe find something beautiful or meaningful there. Or at least give yourself the opportunity to get more comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Ever since I learned as a child that we all at some point experience difficult and troubling feelings or behaviors or conditions, whether that be fright or fury, melancholy or misery, sadness or sickness, I have been fascinated by how we describe and communicate these things, these darker aspects of the human condition–especially as it relates to language and visuals, and in particular the way these things are depicted in art. We all experience darkness. We can’t avoid it, and I don’t think we should. When we dismiss negative emotions and respond to distress with false reassurances, we are neither dealing with reality as it is nor adequately readying ourselves for the random pains and struggles that life has in store for us. As humans, for our emotional wellbeing, we need to experience and embody the full spectrum of feelings and emotions. Shit happens. Pain is pain, feelings are feelings. And we need to feel them. I think art is one of the ways that we can experience some dark shit and feel those feelings in a space of your own choosing that feels controlled and safe. Granted I am not an artist, a therapist, or an art therapist. But this is how I feel as a human who experiences darkness, and I think the idea has a great deal of merit to it.

5. You frequently discuss the darkness that haunts many of the artists featured in your book. Do you feel the “tortured artist” archetype is too frequently held up as the way to successfully be creative?

I do feel like the romanticization or the fetishizing of the tortured artist is a harmful mindset. We have for the longest time perpetuated this myth implying that an artist must experience pain, physically or mentally, to produce great works of art, that “madness makes the artist.” That artists need to make something beautiful from their pain for it to have meaning. That they must find meaning in their pain at all. Personally, I think that’s horseshit. This is of course the opinion of a layperson. The relationship between art and mental illness/wellness is complex and I don’t know how much I can really comment on it, having exactly zero background or training in mental health …although I do come from a family where every member suffers either with some form of depression or struggles with substance abuse, myself included…so maybe on some level that gives me a tiny bit of insight? Personally speaking, do I lean into my depression and anxiety and self-destructive behavior, because that suffering enriches my writing, and the torment proliferates my creativity? Those who glorify such things would suggest that yes, it’s vital for my work. But you know what? Art is vital. Period. Full stop. We’ve earned the right to share our art because we’re alive and we made that art. We painted the canvas, sculpted the statue, wrote the book, did the thing, not because we’re fucked up in some kind of way, but despite it. That is success as I define it.

6. What are a few of your favorite pieces featured in “The Art of Darkness,” and why?

Oh GOSH. I love so many of them, so much! I’ve been interviewing artists for years and it was amazing to include many of them in these pages, artists whose work has captivated me from the moment I saw it, and over the time that I’ve known them, I’ve seen their work grow and evolve in the most fascinating ways, such as Becky Munich, Amy Earles, Caitlin McCormack. Death Positive artists such as Rebecca Reeves, Susan Jamison, and Paul Koudanaris, whose works spark empathy and awareness and that conversations about death and dying are a cornerstone of a healthy society. But my favorite pieces? Well. Here’s a thing about me. It’s true, while I live to revel in the velvet shadows of a moonlit midnight and seek spirits in every lonely, crumbling corner, it’s not like I’m a gloomy Gus about it. If you can’t laugh at what lies waiting in the hungry maw of darkness, if you can’t giggle with the ghosts, or cackle into the nothing of the abyss–well, that’s hardly living, you know? If I have somehow fooled people into thinking I’m all about mystery and melancholy, monsters and morbidity, okay, well, that’s all true, I am. But it’s more than balanced with a significant sense of silliness, an appreciation of the absurd, and an adoration of ridiculousness. My favorite emotion to express is “demented glee”! I mean, I’m really just a goofy weirdo, is what I am trying to say here.

So it would stand to reason that I have massive admiration for artists who can combine these sensibilities in their practice, and these works of the kooky and the macabre, often filled with sly, weird humor are some of my favorite canvases to gaze upon. Enter Ruth Marten and Charley Harper. AND the cherry on top is cover artist Alex Eckman-Lawn, whose work I have described thusly:

“Initially, I was torn, truly torn, when examining the painstaking collage work of Alex Eckman-Lawn. Deep, dense, full of doom and gloom and dark details, these surreal, lonely portraits, on one hand, called forth a sickening dread in the pit of my stomach and give my heart a little lurch. But on the other, and at the same time… they caused an involuntary, choking giggle. As if a shadowy horror had crawled its way from the void to the sanctity of my home, and after an agonizing wait whilst I cowered at the peephole, it gave a smart rap on the door and told me a knock-knock joke.

Perhaps it’s an odd take on things, but I once envisioned the above scenario, I saw these pieces through fresh eyes– and instead of a face-full of nightmarish chaos, they appeared wondrously playful, like a funny postcard from the midnight recesses of your soul, just when you need it most. Have a laugh, they seem to say, or here, have a kitten! Oh, hey, it’s just your dear old skull peeking out to say hello, that’s all, no worries! Little voids, the faces-within-your face, checking in on you from the inside, popping out to say, “hi!” and, “how’s it going?” and, “have you heard the one about…?”

7. Goya, Van Gogh, or Brom? (FYI, loved seeing Brom turn up in the book!)

Ok, this is maybe a controversial take, but while we absolutely need to learn from and honor all those that came before…I don’t believe dead artists need our support all that much, you know? So Brom’s macabre, majestic creations, for sure. Or maybe the choice out of these three is too easy because while I can certainly appreciate Goya and Van Gogh, they just don’t excite me the way a moody 16th century Dutch still life might or a lonely midnight mountaintop by a lesser-known artist would. Maybe I’m just a philistine, who knows. Or maybe you’d show me paintings of what I just described and I’d still choose Brom! I mean, I really love Brom.

8. What type of art do you have on display in your home?

It’s mostly contemporary, like I would say probably 99% of it. And I would say that it is also mostly artists that I know. Again, going back to that idea of supporting artists. I’d much rather give my money to someone alive and creating and making art right now, and even better if it is something that I’ve interacted with, rather than buying a reproduction online of some renowned piece of art that was painted by someone who lived and died a hundred years ago. Although I am not criticizing that! However one chooses to beautify their home is up to them and certainly none of my business. Except I will say that I always see this quote:

“People need art in their houses. They don’t need Bed Bath and Beyond dentist-office art. They need weird stuff.”

…and I’m like, really?? Who is out there buying Bed Bath and Beyond art??

As to what “type”…I guess you could say it’s all pretty dark. I l do like my witches and ghosts and eerie landscapes and spooky castles and creepy crawlies. I can think of only two exceptions; one is a giant print from the NYPL of a carte de visite of my creepy fashion icon, Maria Germanova and the other is a canvas that my mother in law painted for my husband and I when we got married. It’s weird and charming and I love it more than words can say.

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

I sure do! I just started a newsletter, where I share little treasuries of stuff that I like or that I’m up to/into; at the beginning of the summer I started my Patreon where I talk about perfume, which is another passion of mine, and I do have a YouTube channel where I talk about various nonsense, and I hope to be updating it regularly soon! The biggest thing, I guess is that I am currently working on a third book for the Art in the Margins series, and this one will have a focus on fantasy! It is scheduled for publishing in September of 2023.

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

Just one?! Argh! Ok, but I will make it a two-parter:

Dark art–who is your favorite artist? Above ground and below?

Above ground, a favorite of mine who have own many prints from is NeNe Thomas, who does fantasy illustrations. I wouldn’t describe much of her work as “dark”, but her artistic landscape is sometimes populated by desolate winterscapes and the occasional vampire or demon.

Below ground, Keith Haring. Again, not traditionally “dark”, however, people frequently forget that buried in his MASSIVE catalog of brightly colored, cartoon art, are pieces that reflect the pain and fear of the AIDs epidemic.

I also should mention, I’m a HUGE fan of artwork inspired by Dia de Muertos and Santa Muerte. LOVE IT!

About S. Elizabeth:
S.Elizabeth is a writer, curator, and frill-seeker. Her essays and interviews focusing on esoteric art have appeared in Haute Macabre, Coilhouse, Dirge Magazine, Death & The Maiden, and her occulture blog Unquiet Things, which intersects music, fashion, horror, perfume, and grief. She is the co-creator of The Occult Activity Book Vol. 1 and 2 and the author of The Art of the Occult (2020), The Art of Darkness (2022), and The Art of Fantasy (2023)

Get your own copy of “The Art of Darkness” here. (This is an affiliate link to my Bookshop, 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.)

Do you enjoy The Magical Buffet? Considering supporting The Magical Buffet on Patreon! For only $5 a month you’ll receive monthly tarot/oracle forecasts, classes, and behind the scenes updates! Https://www.patreon.com/magicalbuffet

Spirit Weaver

What does it mean to identify as a woman? In many ways, “Spirit Weaver: Wisdom Teachings from the Feminine Path of Magic” by Seren Bertrand explores that very question. “Spirit Weaver” sets out to inspire you to tap into your feminine energy, even if you identify as male, which is a wonderful change of pace for a book like this. Everything female is celebrated and explored in this book, making it a fast-paced and intriguing read.

Inside Bertrand shares her personal experiences with her European ancestral lineage, myth and folklore, the power of home, goddesses, sacred places, lunar traditions, earth rituals, wild magic, exploring grief, the importance of feminine power, and just so much more.

“Spirit Weaver” is an oversized paperback with 200 pages and beautiful full color illustrations by Kate Monkman throughout. With its lovely illustrations, inspirational writing, and suggested retail price of $20, “Spirit Weaver” by Seren Bertrand would make a wonderful female family heirloom.

You can learn more here.

Get your own copy here. (This is an affiliate link to my Bookshop, 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.)

Do you enjoy The Magical Buffet? Considering supporting The Magical Buffet on Patreon! For only $5 a month you’ll receive monthly tarot/oracle forecasts, classes, and behind the scenes updates! Https://www.patreon.com/magicalbuffet

The Witch at the Forest’s Edge

It is fair to say that there is no one way to “witch.” If there was, there wouldn’t be the overflowing cornucopia of witchcraft books available. Although yes, there witchcraft schools, or traditions, that are more “set” than others, overall witchcraft is a build your system. And if you’re looking for a great way to explore the options, “The Witch at the Forest’s Edge: Thirteen Keys to Modern Witchcraft” by Christine Grace is an excellent choice.

Grace has crafted a magical book that explores what in her opinion are 13 key aspects to explore for those interested in witchcraft: worldview and spirituality, communing with spirits, spiritual ancestry, intuition, cultivating spirit senses, creating ritual, hedgeriding (a means release part of your consciousness from this world and travel, spiritually into the Otherworld to engage with spirits, gather new knowledge, hone magical skills, and create change), divination, theology, a green and local craft, the practical use of magical theory, spellcraft, and magical ethics. Taken as a whole, it creates a rich cosmology for her Forest’s Edge Tradition of Witchcraft. However, what I truly love about the book is Grace’s attitude of taking what you want from “The Witch at Forest’s Edge” and not sweating the stuff that doesn’t resonate with you.

I guarantee that if you are interested in witchcraft AT ALL, you will find “The Witch at Forest’s Edge” by Christine Grace a compelling read. It is a wonderful resource for those just dipping their toe into the wider world of witchcraft or for those seasoned witches that want to see how other witches practice their craft.

You can learn more here.

Get your own copy here. (This is an affiliate link to my Bookshop, 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.)

Do you enjoy The Magical Buffet? Considering supporting The Magical Buffet on Patreon! For only $5 a month you’ll receive monthly tarot/oracle forecasts, classes, and behind the scenes updates! Https://www.patreon.com/magicalbuffet

The Beauty Witch’s Secrets

If you follow me on social media, it’s no secret that I love skincare and cosmetics. So you’ll understand that once I heard about “The Beauty Witch’s Secrets: Recipes & Rituals for the Modern Goddess” by Alise Marie I had to request a copy to review. Marie has created a book with a little bit of something for anyone interested in beauty.

Looking for some useful, practical advice? Want to learn to make your own skincare? Recipes for some beauty enhancing beverages? Ready to turn your skincare routine into ritual? Alise Marie has ALL that and more in “The Beauty Witch’s Secrets.” Even if you’re someone like me and settled in on a regular skincare routine, Marie offers plenty of tips and insights that you’ll want to try out and perhaps make your routine a little more magical.

Have you ever wished you could sit around and talk beauty with your fabulous witch girlfriend? Alise Marie is that girlfriend and “The Beauty Witch’s Secrets” is the start of that conversation.

You can learn more here.

Get your own copy here. (This is an affiliate link to my Bookshop, 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.)

Do you enjoy The Magical Buffet? Considering supporting The Magical Buffet on Patreon! For only $5 a month you’ll receive monthly tarot/oracle forecasts, classes, and behind the scenes updates! Https://www.patreon.com/magicalbuffet

Anton LaVey and the Church of Satan

Carl Abrahamsson took on the momentous task of exploring the life and times of Anton LaVey with his latest book, “Anton LaVey and the Church of Satan: Infernal Wisdom from the Devil’s Den.” The topic of Satanism always stirs the pot, and no more so than when one broaches the subject of its champion showman LaVey. Abrahamsson does not hide his personal connection to LaVey, yet he does an able job of presenting an unfiltered LaVey, even if it is with obvious fondness.

Part one of “Anton LaVey and the Church of Satan” is a wonderfully written biography. It’s a biography, but smattered with first-hand recollections from visits Abrahamsson made to LaVey’s famous Black House in San Francisco. It makes for fun and compelling reading.

Part two features an epic line up of interviews. Some are names you’ll recognize and some you may not. Either way, there are many insights to be gained. Who are some of these people? There’s Xerxes LaVey, Anton LaVey’s son, Peter Gilmour and Peggy Nadramia, the current heads of the Church of Satan, filmmaker Keith Anger, and more. There is Genesis P-Orridge and Anton LaVey in conversation. (If you don’t know Genesis P-Orridge, Google that shit and educate yourselves.) Also included is never before scene excerpts from the infomercial “Hail Satan!”

So, who is “Anton LaVey and the Church of Satan” for? Anyone curious about LaVey and the Church of Satan will learn much from Carl Abrahamsson. I know I did. However, I can’t help but feel like there could have something to be learned from including interviews with some of LaVey’s detractors. That said, this is a fantastic book for anyone wanting insights into LaVey and his Church.

You can learn more here.

Get your own copy here. (This is an affiliate link to my Bookshop, 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.)

Do you enjoy The Magical Buffet? Considering supporting The Magical Buffet on Patreon! For only $5 a month you’ll receive monthly tarot/oracle forecasts, classes, and behind the scenes updates! Https://www.patreon.com/magicalbuffet

Blackthorn’s Protection Magic

Amy Blackthorn is an overachieving bitch. Yes, I said it. Yes, you can quote me. Before reading her latest book “Blackthorn’s Protection Magic”, I knew her merely as a certified aromatherapist, purveyor of Hoodoo based herbal tea blends, a capable bartender, and obviously a respected author with this being her sixth book published from Weiser. Now I also know she has taught self-defense classes since attaining the rank of black belt in 2002 and has been a certified firearms instructor since 2010. Oh, and she’s also super nice and has an adorable dog. So yes, an overachieving not so bitchy bitch.

Some of you may remember that a LONG time ago I gave a talk about the everyman’s guide to protection magic at a handful of events. I did quite a bit of research for it and honestly, not only did I feel it was quite complete, but so did most attendees. Well, that was before an accomplished witch and oh, did I mention a witch with an extensive career in executive security, decided to write a book.

Blackthorn discusses both magical protection and mundane, “real world”, protection. “Blackthorn’s Protection Magic” is not for the faint of heart. She bravely tells first hand accounts of dicey situations she has encountered, and how she dealt with them. Most witchcraft books about protection will help you magically secure your home, rid yourself of curses or hexes, and overall, create some good vibes around yourself and your home. Blackthorn teaches you how to do all of that. Rarely do you encounter a book of this category that also discusses practical steps about self-defense classes, situational awareness, improvised weapons, and the like. But Blackthorn does that too.

Unsurprisingly, Amy Blackthorn continues to impress me with “Blackthorn’s Protection Magic”. It’s useful resource for anyone of any level of magic experience and a stand out of the genre.

You can learn more here.

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The Bavarian Illuminati

In a world of sexy book porn, today we’re looking at some of the sexiest of sexy, “The Bavarian Illuminati: The Rise and Fall of the World’s Most Secret Society” by Rene Le Forestier and translated by Jon E. Graham. This is 912 pages of pulse pounding intrigue and yawn inducing bureaucracy that was originally published in 1915 and hasn’t been available in English until now. Until now!

Inner Traditions spared no expense in bringing “The Bavarian Illuminati” to English speaking audiences. The text is presented in hard cover, with a built-in ribbon bookmark. This book is informative, but could also be brandished as a weapon if necessary. But enough foreplay, let’s get into it.

Le Forestier utilized as much primary source material in researching this book as he could find. Bavarian academic Adam Weishaupt founded the short-lived Bavarian Order of the Illuminati in 1776, mainly as a reaction to the Jesuit stranglehold on education in Bavaria at the time and his disappointment in his attempts to join the Freemasons. An intelligent, but vain individual, Weishaupt’s grand design would have floundered and died quickly, but fortunately for him, Adolph, Baron von Knigge came along and helped organize the Illuminati first by applying his Freemason knowledge to the order and then creating the strategy of taking over Freemasonry from the inside out. Even with this, the order didn’t quite last 10 years.

Yet the idea of the Illuminati and their efforts to sabotage the Church and subvert the German Freemasons planted seeds that still bear fruit today of a global organization with its tendrils in everything from the government to the stock market. In reading “The Bavarian Illuminati” Le Forestier clearly presents the flaw in this conspiracy in the fact that the Weishaupt’s Illuminati couldn’t keep itself secret for a decade, let alone imagining this bickering hive of egos could keep a secret for hundreds of years.

“The Bavarian Illuminati” by Rene Le Forestier is not an inexpensive book. However, if you’re looking for a deep dive into the origins of the infamous Bavarian Illuminati and the assorted other secret societies of the era, this would be money well spent.

You can learn more here.

Get your own copy here. (This is an affiliate link to my Bookshop, 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.)

Do you enjoy The Magical Buffet? Considering supporting The Magical Buffet on Patreon! For only $5 a month you’ll receive monthly tarot/oracle forecasts, classes, and behind the scenes updates! Https://www.patreon.com/magicalbuffet