Goddess Magic

It is pretty well-known that I am a sucker for goddesses. That is why I didn’t’ bother looking into the details when offer the opportunity to read “Goddess Magic: A Handbook of Spells, Charms, and Rituals Divine in Origin” by Aurora Kane.

If you’re a more cautious sort and want to know more than that the word “Goddess” is in the title, I can help you out. Now I’m not going to sit here and claim that Kane invented a whole new system of magic, however she does an excellent job explaining the best way to incorporate magical basics into working with goddesses. Where “Goddess Magic” truly excels is in the curated selection of goddesses and Kane’s great ideas to work with them. I can hear you now, “What goddesses are in the book?” I’m glad you asked!

Eos/Aurora/Tesana, Freya, Hebe/Juventas, Inanna, Venus/Aphrodite, Corn Mother, Cybele, Danu, Demeter/Ceres, Hera/Juno, Isis, Mawu, Ninhursag, Oshun, Selene, Yemaya, Amaterasu, Clementia/Eleos, Iris, Kuan Yin, Ma’at, Rhiannon, Veritas/Aletheia, Airmid, Bao Gu, Brigid, Cerridwen, Nidra, Hestia/Vesta, Gabija, Frigg, Epione, Berchta, Fortuna/Tyche, Lakshmi, Pachamama, Rosmerta, Bastet/Bast, Artemis/Diana, Durga, Lady Xian, Nike/Victoria, Tara/Sgrol-ma, Athena/Minerva, Hathor, Baubo/Iambe, Ixchel, Laetitia, and yes, there are more that I didn’t list here!

Seriously, if you are into goddesses, like I am, you NEED “Goddess Magic.” If you’re interested in incorporating goddesses into your practice, you NEED “Goddess Magic.” If you think there isn’t a goddess out there for you, you’re wrong, and you NEED “Goddess Magic.” I guess what I’m saying is that you really need “Goddess Magic” by Aurora Kane.

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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Religious Discrimination in the Workplace

This month Rice University’s Religion and Public Life Program released a fascinating study on how different religious identities experience workplace discrimination. They drew primarily on interview data from a mixed-methods study that included a national population survey of 13,270 people as well as 194 in-depth interviews with Christians, Muslims, Jews, and nonreligious respondents. What did it show?

Nearly a third of all survey respondents from their subsample reported perceiving religious discrimination at some point in their working tenure. A larger proportion of Muslim (63 percent) and Jewish (52 percent) respondents reported religious discrimination compared with other religious groups. Additionally, perceptions of religious discrimination varied within Christian subgroups, with 36 percent of evangelical Protestants, 24 percent other Christian/other Protestants, and roughly 20 percent of Catholics and mainline Protestants each reporting religious discrimination. A little more than one quarter of all nonreligious respondents perceived religious discrimination in the workplace. It is also worth noting that respondents who perceived religious discrimination at work often reported other forms of discrimination tied to their social location. Of the 27 percent of people who reported experiencing religious discrimination, 24 percent reported experiencing one or more other forms of discrimination in the workplace. This was especially true for Muslim and Jewish respondents, of whom 60 percent and 44 percent reported experiencing other forms of discrimination, respectively.

The study discusses verbal microaggressions, stereotypes, social exclusion, othering, religious holidays, and religious symbols. All of it is interesting, but I can’t help but be drawn to the individual examples drawn from the interviews. They highlight the complicated nature of workplace discrimination, particularly with regards to religion.

One of the examples:
A white evangelical man who worked as a truck driver in Ohio described how he believed he was “let go” from a previous job after he requested not to work on Sunday mornings. Although he acknowledged this may have been because of scheduling needs, he also felt that those who made the decision “did not like me, because I was a Christian.” However, paradoxically, the same respondent shared later that he felt that Muslims in his current workplace “use their faith as a way—as a victim card, to get whatever they want,” including changes to shifts for religious reasons. Although one might expect the man to be sympathetic to Muslim requests for scheduling accommodation given his own experience, here he dismisses Muslims as being manipulative and questions their religious sincerity. He also describes how his current boss created a part-time position for him, so that he could also serve as a part-time pastor without losing regular income. However, in this case, he does not question meriting this treatment, drawing an implied distinction between himself and Muslim colleagues.

Another memorable example:
An African American mainline Protestant woman from Alabama reflected that early on in her work life, about 15 years ago, when she was an office manager of a department store, her coworkers would “insult” her by calling her “Holy Roller.” This incident seemed to be precipitated by the fact that she would be “turning my Christian music on to encourage myself and to encourage others.” The fact that her non-Christian colleagues did not appreciate this illustrates how this respondent may also have been an enactor of unwelcome behavior in the workplace.

I highly recommend reading the study. It provides some excellent viewpoints and some things to think about. You can read it here.

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10 Questions with Cairelle Crow & Laura Louella (Giveaway)

What happens when you interview two different authors separately about the same thing? In this case, you find out that they really do work well together. Please enjoy this interview with Cairelle Crow and Laura Louella as we discuss the anthology book they edited, “Brigid’s Light”, and everything that entailed.

1. I’m guessing most of my readers are familiar with Brigid, but for those who are not, can you explain who she is?

Cairelle Crow: Brigid is first documented in the folklore, mythology, and spiritual traditions of the Celtic nations of Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, the Isle of Man, and Brittany, as well as in England, where she is revered at numerous sacred sites. As a pre-Christian triple goddess of Ireland, she is an object of reverence over a wide expanse of northwestern Europe. She is also well-known as St. Brigid of Kildare. It is debated whether the saint is a continuation of the goddess, or whether the goddess and saint are completely different. Either way, many of her followers accept that the goddess and saint are inextricably entwined and it’s not unusual to see a mix of both traditions within one path.

Laura Louella: Brigid is multi-faceted. She is a mother, a daughter, a goddess and a saint. Her hearth fires blaze, she is the center. She has love and cares for the less fortunate. Brigid is a healer.

2. Why out of all the deities did you choose to devote an anthology to Brigid?

Cairelle Crow: While I work with a multitude of goddesses, Brigid is my matroness goddess and I wanted to honor her.

Laura Louella: I love her, she is at the heart of my home. She is a protectress, a humanitarian, lover of animals and she knows loss and grief. She is an example of how to live life.

3. Do you find there are any prevalent misconceptions about Brigid?

Cairelle Crow: Too many people mistakenly see Brigid as a “beginner” goddess, suitable only for those who need a gentle introduction to goddess spirituality and/or paganism. Brigid is multi-faceted and stands firmly within her boundaries and sovereignty. Her stories, myths, and legends reflect strength and determination. Practitioners of any level can learn from Brigid’s example.

Laura Louella: That she is a beginner goddess and only gentle. Some fail to see her many attributes, she stood up to power, she wasn’t afraid to face the hard things. She was not concerned about being popular when caring for the needs of others. And she showed her emotions and taught us how to as well.

4. Why an anthology, or compilation, instead of an entire book authored by yourself on the subject?

Cairelle Crow: There are so many perspectives on Brigid. I thought it would be great to highlight the many ways she is experienced by others. I was also interested in how she’s made her way around the world, traveling along with immigrants and through modern technology.

Laura Louella: There are so many people who love her, we wanted all the voices to shine their light on her.

5. How did you go about soliciting contributions for “Brigid’s Light”?

Cairelle Crow: We created a detailed request for submissions on our website and shared it on social media. We also asked others that we know are devotees and we asked them to write about their experiences.

Laura Louella: We reached out to people via social media, we contacted people we have studied with, and friends.

6. “Bridgid’s Light” was edited by both of you. How did that partnership come about and how did you divide the labor?

Cairelle Crow: We met when Laura picked me up from the airport. We were attending the same event and I needed a ride! We’d known each other online previously, and a close friendship developed after a discussion of our mutual devotion to Brigid. The anthology, from start to finish, was done together over Zoom sessions with a shared screen. We work well together, we shared a lot of laughs, and thoroughly enjoyed the process!

Laura Louella: We met when I picked up Cairelle at an airport in Oregon. We had met online but never in person. As we traveled back to California, we began sharing our stories, one conversation led to another and we began speaking of our devotion to Brigid. I believe Brigid brought us together and gave us the spark of inspiration we needed for Brigid’s Light.
We worked together, since we live in different time zones, we spent a lot of time on zoom! We wrote together, we edited together, and as the submissions came in, we rejoiced together. I will tell you that Cairelle is the tech person. Without that I would have struggled greatly. She walked me through some of the IT stuff with great patience.

7. There are loads of prayers, essays, and more in “Brigid’s Light.” Do you have a few personal favorites?

Cairelle Crow: Ohhh, this is hard! I love them all so much! Some that come to mind right in this moment are the poem by NiDara, Laura’s essay about her family’s quilting tradition, and Raven Morgaine’s beautiful portrayal of Maman Brijit. I also love Maria Jones’ essay about Brigid and astrology.

Laura Louella: It is so hard to choose a favorite. The one that made me cry is the submission from Bernadette Montana entitled My Personal Relationship with Brid. The one that reminded me that Brigid is always with us, by Tara Anura, Brigid of the Ozarks gave me a sense of knowing Brigid walks with us through great challenges. Love and Honey Baked Apples by Cairelle, I can feel the love in her grandma’s kitchen. Also, Jenne Micale’s, A Prayer to Brighid in Times of Violence, so profound and right now! I cannot choose one because everyone, all of the submissions shine a beautiful light on my beloved Brigid.

8. What do you think are some of the most basic ways to honor Brigid?

Cairelle Crow: The number one most basic way that I honor Brigid is to be of service to others, in whatever way is possible. Even offering a smile to another person on the street can be uplifting. Little things really matter! Other ways are keeping a flame, tending an altar that honors her, cooking a meal for loved ones. The possibilities are near-endless. People will know best what resonates within themselves.

Laura Louella: Watching the sun rise, sitting by a river or stream, lighting a candle and saying a prayer, tending my altar where I place my sacred items honoring her, and caring for others.

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

Cairelle Crow: We are currently writing a book, we are planning retreats to Ireland and Glastonbury in 2023, and we continue to work on expanding our Elements of Philanthropy and Threads of Connection projects. Details about all of this can be found on our website, www.sanctuaryofbrigid.com.

Laura Louella: So much!! We are currently writing a book proposal that we are very excited about. We are planning on taking a group of women on a retreat to Ireland and Glastonbury, details are on www.sanctuaryofbrigid.com , where people that are interested can get on a list to be contacted about details. Also, on our website there is a page called Elements of Philanthropy where we encourage acts of service to honor Brigid.

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

Cairelle Crow: Do you have a matroness goddess? If so, who?

Not a particular individual goddess. I worship the divine feminine in many aspects. My altar pays homage to Quan Yin, Kali, Santa Muerte, Medusa, and Pandora.

Laura Louella: How do you see Brigid; do you have a story or recipe or poem that honors her?

I suspect many will find it surprising that I’ve never devoted much time to Brigid. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to read “Brigid’s Light.”

About Cairelle Crow:
Cairelle Crow has walked a goddess path for more than thirty years, exploring, learning, and growing. She is a priestess, genealogist, wanderess of wild and holy places, and co-foundress of the Sanctuary of Brigid and its flame-keeping circle, Sisters of the Flame. She lectures locally, nationally, and internationally on the blending of genealogy with magic and is dedicated to connecting magical people to their ancestral truths. When she’s not roaming the world in search of grandmothers, quirky art, and stone circles, Cairelle is home in New Orleans, where she lives joyfully, loves intensely, and laughs frequently with beloved family and friends. You can find her online at www.cairellecrow.com.

About Laura Louella:
Laura Louella is a priestess, certified Pilates instructor committed to teaching the strength that lies within, and the owner of Goddess Pilates, where she blends the art of sacred movement with the beauty of the goddess. She is also the co-foundress of the Sanctuary of Brigid and its flame-keeping circle, Sisters of the Flame. Many days, you can find her tending her garden, taking long walks through the forest, sitting by the river, or creating a quilt on her 1936 Featherweight Singer sewing machine. Laura lives in the Cascade Mountains of northern California.

You can learn more here.

Guess what? I accidentally received two copies of “Brigid’s Light”. You know what that means? GIVEAWAY! As usual, we’re using Rafflecopter. The giveaway is open to United States residents 18 years of age and old. Giveaway ends Monday 03/28/2022 at 11:59pm eastern.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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When do Atheists Conceal Their Identity?

I received a press release regarding a recently published study, “Patterns of Perceived Hostility and Identity Concealment among Self-Identified Atheists”. The study used survey data from a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults and examined which atheists are more likely to hide their religious identity and why.

From the press release, “While certain atheists were more likely to conceal their identity depending on where they lived or with whom they were affiliated, they were still less likely to conceal their identity when compared to other non-religious groups, such as agnostics or those who simply say they do not have a religion, the researchers wrote.

Frost, a postdoctoral research fellow in sociology and the Religion and Public Life Program at Rice and the study’s lead author, said that findings about atheists hiding their religious beliefs aren’t surprising. Previous research shows atheists are among the least liked and most distrusted minority groups in the U.S.

‘If someone is already in a marginalized group — like women — or are members of a group that is heavily religious — such as Republicans or southern Americans — it stands to reason they are less likely to take on the additional stigma of being an ‘out’ atheist,’ she said.

‘Earlier research has also shown that atheists are more likely to report discrimination on the basis of their atheism in social settings, at school and at work’, Frost said.

A 2015 survey from the Pew Research Center found the number of people who claim no religious affiliation had increased to 25%. That raises a question among researchers studying this subject: What can be done to support and protect this growing group of people in the U.S.?

‘Our research suggests that openness about one’s atheist identity may help combat some of the effects of the stigma they face,’ said Ecklund, director of the Religion and Public Life Program and a Herbert S. Autrey Professor of Social Sciences at Rice.

‘In addition, the ability to gather with fellow atheists may help encourage this openness and provide individuals with a safe place to seek support in the face of discrimination,’ Scheitle said.

The researchers wrote that their findings are valuable for understanding the many different types of religious discrimination. The work also helps better understand how to address and cope with negative side effects of this mistreatment.

The study was conducted with support from the National Science Foundation and the Religion and Public Life Program. (“Religion-Related Bias Victimization: Addressing a Blind-Spot,” National Science Foundation, Grant 1753972, Elaine Howard Ecklund, PI, Christopher P. Scheitle, Co-PI.) The article is available online at https://doi.org/10.1093/sf/soab165.”

I agree with the abstract from the study that says, “These findings have implications for how researchers understand the context-specific nature of religious discrimination, as well as implications for research on stigma management and the ways that the shifting religious and political landscape in the United States shapes the expression of atheist identities.”

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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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Traditional Brazilian Black Magic

Let’s give a round of applause to Destiny Books (an imprint of Inner Traditions) for shepherding Diego De Oxóssi’s book, “Traditional Brazilian Black Magic: The Secrets of the Kimbanda Magicians” to the American marketplace. I obviously don’t know every book that has ever been published, but it seems like Africa meets Brazil isn’t too prevalent.

De Oxóssi offers a history of Kimbanda that starts in the 17th century with the arrival of African slaves that were brought to Brazil up to modern times. Already having minimal knowledge of African magical practices and none of Brazil’s, Kimbanda was a fascinating first look at the spiritual and magical practices. Kimbanda encourages working with deities and embracing the dualistic nature of life. Light and dark, virtue and vice, male and female, etc. It is a rich tradition featuring seven realms with nine dominions, each with their own entities that reside within them and govern them. What I found of particular interest is that there is a branch of Kimbanda that is a synthesis of Western high magic and Luciferian traditions. This came about from the association of Goetian daemons with Kimbanda’s Eshus. It feels like a unique evolution.

“Traditional Brazilian Black Magic” by Diego De Oxóssi packs quite a punch in its slender 100ish pages. I picked it up expecting a quick read and instead found myself slowly reviewing each section due to the volume of information packed into each page. Not only is the book a great read if you’re interested in learning about this practice, but it will make a fantastic re-read when inevitably you’re pulled back in to learn more.

You can learn more here.

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The Divine Feminine Tao Te Ching

Translations matter. Anyone with even a passing interest in the Bible could tell you this. My husband loves to drive this point home by saying he learned to read Greek just so he could read older versions of the Bible to then use to argue against judgmental Christians. The fact is most ancient texts have been interpreted and reinterpreted again and again by men. These were the kinds of thoughts that were going through Rosemarie Anderson’s mind when she decided to translate the Tao Te Ching, using the oldest version of the text she could find.

The Tao Te Ching is a classic Chinese text that has influenced Chinese philosophy and religion into modern times. It has been translated many times. I happen to own 3 different translations. Out of the three I own, “The Divine Feminine Tao Te Ching” by Rosemarie Anderson is my favorite.

In her introduction, Anderson shares her journey that culminated with her sitting down and doing her own translation of the Tao Te Ching. She shares her genuine surprise at how overtly feminine the Tao was in her translation. After reading “The Divine Feminine Tao Te Ching” I reached for my other two copies of the Tao, one from 2008 translated by James Legge and the other from 1993 that was translated by Man-Ho Kwok, Martin Palmer, and Jay Ramsay. And whoa yeah, there are many differences between the three texts. In the divine feminine defense of the other two, they both did translate some phrases in a more feminine way, but none to the extent of Anderson’s translation.

However, it’s not just the overtly feminine translation that makes “The Divine Feminine Tao Te Ching” my favorite. Anderson’s presentation of the text is more poetic and lyrical than the others I read. It flows better when being read, and I suspect sounds wonderful read aloud. It lends itself nicely to being read repeatedly, and the Tao Te Ching is a text that is meant to be repeatedly read and reflected on.

All of this is to say, “The Divine Feminine Tao Te Ching” by Rosemarie Anderson will be my definitive translation of the Tao going forward.

You can learn more here.

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Superstitions in the United States

Everyone has some superstitions. Depending on the culture you or your family grew up with, where you live in the world, spiritual beliefs, etc., they can vary greatly. So, when an odd press release came into my inbox regarding superstitions in the United States, my interest was piqued.

Turns out a clever publicist for the Potawatomi Hotel and Casino put together a little report about superstitions in every U.S. state as a tie in for St. Patrick’s Day. Sadly, my email filter shunted it to a spam folder, so by the time I discovered it, St. Patrick’s Day had passed. On the other hand, as I explained to the publicist, my readers would have an interest in this subject matter regardless of time of year. You are interested, aren’t you?

Yeah, you are. And although this is hardly scientific and certainly doesn’t cover all the superstitions out there (but does cover a lot), it is still an interesting read. According to their report, their methodology was:

Using the Google AdWords platform, we analyzed search volume trends for more than 200 terms related to superstitions associated with both good luck and bad luck. The results represent the most disproportionately popular terms in every state. In February 2021, we also surveyed 1,016 Americans between the age of 18 – 75 to ask them about their belief in superstitions. 60% were female and 40% were male and the average age of respondents was 38.

A brief overview of what they learned was the most popular superstitions in America are: throwing salt over your shoulder, bad luck comes in threes, lucky rabbit’s foot, Friday the 13th, and ladybugs being a sign of good luck. 65% of Americans are superstitious. 83% believe in good luck, 50% believe in bad luck. 37% of Americans believe Friday the 13th brings bad luck. 34% of Americans believe St. Patrick’s Day is a luck day. Nearly double that amount (60%) say they wear green on St. Patrick’s Day.

You can see the full report here.


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Dark Goddess Tarot

In a spiritual practice that at best could be described as “hodge podge”, one of the only cohesive aspects is my adoration of the divine feminine. I’m particularly drawn to goddesses that are misunderstood or viewed as negative. Enter “Dark Goddess Tarot” by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince, a deck that feels custom made for me.

From the introduction, “Dark goddesses are disturbing, fearsome, and beautiful. They can be shunned or overlooked, as they represent aspects of life that people find uncomfortable – sometimes only when those powers are in female hands. Powers of age and death, sex and sovereignty, ferocity and judgement. Of magic, mystery, and transformation. Of suffering and shadow.”

Lorenzi-Prince takes a female forward approach to the traditional 78 card tarot deck. A goddess or mythical female figure is featured on every card, including the minor arcana. Although the suits are changed to fire, water, air, and earth, with the court cards changing from page, knight, queen, and king into amazon, siren, witch, and hag respectively.

“Dark Goddess Tarot” first released in 2013, several years before inclusivity had become not just an idea, but a necessity in the spiritual space. Considering that, Lorenzi-Prince has done an excellent job representing multiple cultures in a respectful fashion. I’ll resist the urge to share every female from the deck, but there’s Kali, Isis, Ishtar, Baba Yaga, Santa Muerte, Tlazolieotl, Spider Woman, Tsonokwa, Baubo, and so many more. The artwork for the deck is noteworthy too, with Lorenzi-Prince not only creating the deck, but creating all the art for it too!

“Dark Goddess Tarot” by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince is an excellent exploration of the divine feminine. A noteworthy addition to any tarot collection.

You can learn more here.

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Witch Hunt

Several years ago, I featured the fantastic book “Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive” by Kristen J. Sollée on the site. I loved it so much, and frequently wondered if/when I would see the author’s work out in the world again. You can imagine how excited I was when flipping through the Weiser Books catalog and saw her name once again.

This time the book is “Witch Hunt: A Traveler’s Guide to the Power & Persecution of the Witch.” It is the perfect follow up to “Witches, Sluts, Feminists”. Where her first book followed much of the evolution of the persecuted female witch, her latest, “Witch Hunt”, Sollée literally travels that history. A personal memoir and travelogue, “Witch Hunt” shares the authors reflections and experiences in unexpected and widespread locales. Visit Italy and Vatican City, France, Germany, Ireland, England, and Scotland. In the United States you will learn more about America’s misadventures with witchcraft in Virginia, Delaware, Connecticut, New York, and of course, Salem, Massachusetts.

Sollée does everyone a huge favor by providing travel resources in the back of the book. Trust me, by the time you are done with “Witch Hunt” you are going to want to check them all out! “Witch Hunt” is a thoughtful exploration time and place, and the convergence of religion, spirituality, and gender.

You can learn more here.

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