Archangel Fire Oracle

Alexandra Wenman set out to blend the angelic with the alchemical. The result was “Archangel Fire Oracle.”

Wenman describes archangels as, “Angels of a high rank who assist humanity with our evolution by helping us to access the divine through our higher wisdom and knowledge. They differ to other angels, who solely help us with practical day-to-day things. The Archangels, along with the day-to-day, have more to with Ascension and the attainment of enlightenment.” She feels the interactive nature of an oracle deck is a great way to access them and their wisdom.

Obviously, like most oracle decks, “Archangel Fire Oracle” can be used any way you like. However, if you want to take full advantage of the deck’s potential you can take a journey one card at a time. In the accompanying guidebook each card has associated entry that included meditations and exercises. Using the deck this way the “Archangel Fire Oracle” is an initiatory experience. In many ways Wenman has created an instructional book AND an oracle deck, conveniently in 40 wonderfully illustrated cards.

Anyone interested in working with angels and/or angelic energies would be well-served in purchasing “Archangel Fire Oracle” by Alexandra Wenman.

You can learn more here.

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The King in Orange

Early on, author John Michael Greer makes sure you know that he speaks about magic following the definition provided by Dion Fortune, “Magic is the art and science causing changes in consciousness in accordance with will.” Knowing this makes it easier to see the intersection of magical influence and politics, the subject of Greer’s latest book, “The King in Orange: The Magical and Occult Roots of Political Power.” I feel like these days we’re all armchair politic pundits, I know I am. However, it takes a certain amount confidence to write a book on the divisive topic of politics and up the ante by adding magic to the mix. Since schools of magical thought are always known for being an eternal spring of agreeability (yes, sarcasm).

Greer does an excellent job explaining the primary division amongst Americans as being investment class, salary class, wage class, and welfare class. Your experience of America is greatly based on where you fall in these categories, with the investment and salary classes being catered to and the wage class and welfare class being left to fend for themselves. It is a more refined version of the “problems with the vanishing middle class” concern that politicians bandy about and that many Americans are actually experiencing. Everyone gets an opinion on why Trump won in 2016, and Greer’s is that the wage class was motivated by promises of bringing jobs back to the United States. A new generation Jim Carville’s, “It’s the economy stupid.” “The King in Orange” spends a great deal of time exploring Greer’s thoughts on the mundane reason for the Trump victory, which also include bring soldiers home and the wage class’s struggle with Obamacare.

Things get more interesting when Greer starts tracking the chaos magic of the 4Chans, and the reactionary workings of the magical resistance. “The King in Orange” does an excellent job comparing and contrasting not only the philosophies of these groups, but also their operational practices. There is much to be learned about magic, just from the author’s observations and explanations.

“The King in Orange” is a thought provoking look at the 2016 election through the prism of Greer’s political opinions and magical experience. Whether you agree 100% with his findings, you will still find yourself with much to consider.

You can learn more here.

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

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Don’t Lose Your Head

I don’t really care about British royal history. I don’t watch royal weddings. I don’t follow news about the royals. I just don’t get it. Whether modern or historical I generally shrug. However, there is something I truly love, and that is reclaiming the stories of women who have been vilified in the past. That is why when I received an invitation to review “Don’t Lose Your Head: Life Lessons from the Six Ex-Wives of Henry VIII” by Harriet Marsden, I took up the offer.

Like most people, I am familiar with Henry VIII due to his multiple marriages that almost entirely ended with him having his wife killed. That was pretty much it. So, I knew Henry VIII had to be an asshole, but not much else. I mean, that many marriages? After a couple you must assume the problem is him. After reading “Don’t Lose Your Head” I can safely say, yeah, it was him.

Marsden firmly plants her tongue in cheek and lets her feminist flag fly as she hilariously recounts the stories of all of Henry’s wives in their own voices. Whether speaking confidentially, or bad mouthing each other from beyond the grave, you will learn the stories of Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anna of Cleves, Katherine Howard, and Catherine Parr. These are stories of political cunning, sexual prowess, gender politics, marriage philosophies, and more. You can’t help but come away with an appreciation for these assorted women, and yup, still think that Henry VIII was a jerk.

Marsden’s wit and conversational style makes “Don’t Lose Your Head” the kind of British royal history book that anyone can enjoy!

You can learn more here.

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

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National Unicorn Day

Did you know that tomorrow is National Unicorn Day? Well, it is. One year it was brought to my attention that April 9th is National Unicorn Day and since I like unicorns, I made note of it on my calendar. However, a cursory internet search could not tell me WHY April 9th became National Unicorn Day, just that it is. And that concludes the historical portion of this article.

Honestly, there has just been a bumper crop of unicorn related books lately and I thought this would be a could occasion to give you a giant list o’ links to check stuff out. How better to celebrate unicorns than by buying books about unicorns, right?

You might remember that in January 2020 I profiled a “Stampede of Unicorns!” That review features “Unicorn Magic” by Tess Whitehurst, “Llewellyn’s Little Book of Unicorns” by Angela Wix, and “The Wonder of Unicorns” by Diane Cooper. It turns out that Diane Cooper also has “The Wonder of Unicorns Game” and “The Wonder of Unicorn Cards!” She even has a compact disc of guided meditations, “The Unicorn Meditation.”

I personally own a very worn-out copy of “The Unicorn Tarot” by Suzanne Star with art by Liz Hilton. The outer box art has changed, but the deck is the same.

It is out of print, but if you want to read the book that turned me into a unicorn fan, try and get a hold of “The Unicorn” by Nancy Hathaway. If you can get one in good condition, it would make a beautiful coffee table book. Of course, mine is so worn out it can barely stay together, let alone let visitors casually flip through it!

Lastly, you cannot discuss unicorns without mentioning “The Last Unicorn.” After all this time the animated film is still magical and the book by Peter S. Beagle is even better! I own the DVD, and two different print runs of the novel! Perhaps Friday is the perfect day to dig out the DVD, or reread the book?

Regardless of how you choose to celebrate, I hope you have a magical National Unicorn Day!

*Some of the links in this article are affiliate links to IndieBound or Bookshop.org. These sites support independent books stores in the United States. If you use these links to purchase a 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 Gift of Life Tarot

If you’ve followed me or The Magical Buffet on social media, you’ve probably seen me share “The Ghetto Tarot”. It’s one of my all-time favorite decks done by photographer Alice Smeets and a Haitian art collective known as Atis Rezistans. These artists and Smeets recreated the Rider Waite Tarot using local sourced, found materials. I never wrote a formal review because it was done as a Kickstarter and I didn’t realize you could purchase it after that. When Smeets started a new fundraising campaign for a second tarot deck, I didn’t hesitate. What I received was “The Gift of Life Tarot”.

During 2020 lockdown Smeets was coming to terms with having to put her projects and travel plans on hold. Once accepting the situation for what it was, she looked for a new way to express her creativity. From “The Gift of Life Tarot” Guidebook:

The next day I started going through all of my archives from 13 years of photography. I looked through 1000’s of photos to find the ones that matched each tarot card the best. It was an amazing, fun and inspiring process and gave me a chance to reconnect to all of those memories from all around the world from the past. This deck is not just a deck, it is at the same time a retrospective of my work as a photographer since 2007. All of the photos I have chosen for this deck were taken during my travels to different continents, each single one of them is dear to my heart. The people portrayed in the photos are people I either encountered along the way and just met briefly, some I spent several days with and others are my friends.

Smeets feels the real-life scenes depicted on the cards make it easy to relate the cards to ourselves and our lives. “The Gift of Life Tarot” has the traditional 22 cards of the major arcana. The minor arcana is divided into four 14 card suits: fire, water, air, and earth. The traditional court cards of the minor arcana are replaced with daughter, son, mother, and father.

The guidebook features a few tarot spreads. Each card has its own entry that includes the gifts of the card and the challenges it can represent. There is description and also a life purpose reading for the card. A thoughtful extra is that each card entry includes Smeets talking about the photographs real-life moment. This really makes “The Gift of Life Tarot” a photo retrospective and obviously, a tarot deck.

“The Gift of Life Tarot” by Alice Smeets is a true reflection of universality of the human experience. Personally, I can’t wait to see what Smeets creates next!

You can learn more about both “The Gift of Tarot” and “The Ghetto Tarot” 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.

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

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 Archeo

I’m fortunate that many publishers and publicists offer to send me free books or products to consider for review. I frequently get to request certain items, but other times, I get things sent to me without requesting them. And let me tell you, left to my own devices, I NEVER would have requested “The Archeo.” Thankfully, Jake at Llewellyn didn’t ask me, he knew I needed to see this.

Even when “The Archeo: Understanding & Developing Archetypes” by Nick Bantock arrived, I had no intention of reviewing it. However, I was like, I should at least open and thumb through the deck. As soon as I started shuffling through the cards, I stopped dead in my tracks. These cards seriously resonated with me and considering that “The Archeo” is about universal archetypes, I thought that meant this deck was pretty damn special.

Nearly every deck is marketed as a tool of self-discovery, but “The Archeo” is a tool ONLY for self-discovery. The 40-card deck and its accompanying 204 page, full-color companion guide help you create your personal mythology. Bantock expands on Jung and Campbell’s idea of archetypes, crafting the 40 presented in “The Archeo” that include alchemist, demon, midwife, wolf, greenman, falcon, and more. There are even two blank cards provided in case you discover a new archetype you want to work with. Each card has artwork created by Bantock, and you know how I’m a sucker for deck authors being able to illustrate their own deck. (I not so secretly wish I could create visual art…..or write effectively for that matter!)

The ways you can use “The Archeo” are limited only by your imagination, but Bantock provides some ideas for layouts and spreads. Also, he wrote a story focusing on each card, to help you understand them better.

If you’re ready to take a journey within, “The Archeo” is for you!

You can learn more here.

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

Life Ritualized

The book we’re discussing today is “Life Ritualized: A Witch’s Guide to Honoring Life’s Important Moments” by Phoenix LeFae and Gwion Raven. If the name Gwion Raven sounds familiar, you might remember me reviewing his excellent book “The Magick of Food”. With “Life Ritualized” he and his spouse, accomplished author Phoenix LeFae, tackle many of life’s most complex experiences.

What is a milestone? There are obvious ones in American society, like birthdays, being legally allowed to drink, getting your drivers license, etc. However, LaFae and Raven explore the true complex nature of our lives and acknowledge that many things happen, big and small, and happy or sad, that mark our passage through life. It is simple to find books featuring rituals for marriage and birth. “Life Ritualized” posits that rituals can not only make the good times better and more meaningful but can also provide solace and comfort in bad times. They cover about any life event you can think of, such as: fertility, adoption, birth blessings, miscarriage, abortion, graduation, new driver, new car, new job, new home, handfasting, retirement, grief, loss of job, menopause, pet burial, self-initiation, and more.

I’m obviously impressed by how thorough this book is in examining the human experience. Raven and LeFae share intimate moments from their own lives to illustrate times when you may want to use these rituals. What I appreciated the most is that although “Life Ritualized” is a “Witch’s Guide”, most of the rituals are appropriate for any open-minded, nondenominational group or individual.

If you’re interested in adding ritual, or more ritual, to your life, I highly recommend “Life Ritualized” by Phoenix LeFae and Gwion Raven’

You can learn more here.

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

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 Alchemy of Stones

If you’re looking to do some serious inner spiritual work and you love crystals, I have the book for you. “The Alchemy of Stones: Co-creating with Crystals, Minerals, and Gemstones for Healing and Transformation” by Robert Simmons is certainly not the first book to suggest utilizing crystals for spiritual transformation, but it may be the first do so in such a thorough and thoughtful manner.

“The Alchemy of Stones” is a BIG book. Nearly 500 full-color pages in an oversized 7 x 11 inches format. A relatively large section is devoted to an illustrated glossary of summarizing the spiritual properties of over 375 crystals and minerals. Simmons starts with a discussion of alchemy and segues into the stages of alchemical transformation and provides meditative practices with specific stones to go with each stage. This includes gemstone elixirs, crystal body layouts, stone mandalas, and more.

“The Alchemy of Stones” is not for the casual crystal enthusiast. However, if you are committed to a spiritual transformation that is connected to the Earth, this is the book for you.

You can learn more here.

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

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

Nature Spirit Tarot

Can you ever have too many tarot decks? The answer is yes. Will that stop me from continuing to collect and review them? Apparently not. Which brings us to today’s review of “Nature Spirit Tarot” by Jean Marie Herzel.

“Nature Spirit Tarot” is based on the traditional 78 card tarot deck. What differentiates Herzel’s deck is the addition of plants, flowers, insects, animals, minerals, and other elements of the natural world. She pulls on the language of flowers, Native American folklore, Eastern and Western philosophies, and Celtic legend to choose the natural elements to include in each card. This gives each card additional meaning and makes for some beautiful artwork. Which by the way, Herzel not only wrote/designed the deck, but she also did all the illustrating as well. I’m always impressed when the deck is written and illustrated by one person. Doing either one of those seems like it would be difficult enough.

I did March’s tarot forecast for my Patrons using this deck and I have to say, the nature elements enrich the reading. The nearly 200-page guidebook has full color images and offers several ways to use the cards.

It’s true that you could already have too many tarot decks, but if you love tarot decks and nature you may want to consider adding this one to your collection.

You can learn more here.

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