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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American Brujeria

There is a lot to discuss when it comes to “American Brujeria: Modern Mexican American Folk Magic” by J. Allen Cross, so let’s get this out of the way….I LOVE the cover art for this book. LOVE. IT. I’ll be taking no further questions about this.

As authors and publishers become more concerned with issues such as inclusion and cultural appropriation, we’re seeing books become more careful in the handling of these issues. Cross goes to great lengths to explain his mixed ancestry and how that affected him and this book. He also explains how he decided to call his practice American Brujeria (with no accent over the I as in the Spanish language). Most importantly, Cross identifies appropriation. As a middle-aged white woman who practices what one could kindly call an “eclectic” style of witchcraft/spirituality, I appreciated hearing some easy-to-understand dos and don’ts of being respectful.

“American Brujeria” combines research with interviews Cross did in Mexican communities, what he finds is a blend of Catholicism and folk magic. When you’re done with this book, you’ll know a lot about Saints, church supplies, Vicks VapoRub, baths, protection magic, and just so much more. It’s a great exploration of magic and Mexican culture. My review isn’t doing justice to this important work, you need to trust me on this, it is a good book.

You can learn more here.

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The Path of the Witch

When someone decides to study witchcraft, it can be a bit daunting. A practice that has ebbed and flowed based on the times is currently on an upswing and access to information on the subject is more plentiful than ever. On one hand, now is a great time to take up study, on the other, I don’t envy the newcomer attempting to discern where to start. Author Lidia Pradas does a great job trying to help seekers out with her latest book “The Path of the Witch: Rituals & Practices for Discovering Which Witch You Are.”

Pradas takes up the challenge of describing the similarities and differences between several different paths of witchcraft. Are you a green witch, kitchen witch, Wiccan, cosmic witch, elemental witch, sea witch, eclectic, or something else or combination? Pradas takes care to ensure eclectic witches don’t fall into the trap of cultural appropriation, an important issue. She is respectful in explaining the fundamentals of different branches of the witchcraft tree. Not only is this helpful for beginners, but I found it a wonderful was to reevaluate and reconsider my own current practice.

“The Path of the Witch” by Lidia Pradas is a great resource for anyone interested in the many ways you can approach the practice of witchcraft.

You can learn more here.

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