The Secret Texts of Hellenic Polytheism

I can’t resist books touted as “first time available in English” or “never before seen”. There’s nothing like secret and/or forbidden knowledge to make me pick up a book. So, when offered a chance to read “The Secret Texts of Hellenic Polytheism: A Practical Guide to the Restored Pagan Religion of George Gemistos Plethon” by John Opsopaus, PhD., it was impossible to say no. I mean, this book is based off of the surviving sixteen chapters of Plethon’s “Book of Laws”. Surviving. As in, after Plethon’s death the authorities of the time wanted to destroy his work. Can’t. Say. No.

George Gemistos, who later called himself Plethon, lived from 1355 to 1452. In that time, he helped reawaken an interest in Plato’s works and Platonism. The church of the time was not a fan, and suspected Gemistos was a secret Neopagan, which was confirmed after his death when a Patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Church got his hands on Plethon’s “Book of Laws.” The “Book of Laws” outlined a Neopagan religion based on Platonism, and so, the text was destroyed. Fortunately, parts of the text had already been copied by students, and the Church, in an effort to always have “proof” of Plethon’s heresies on hand, kept parts of the manuscript. Thus, today through the hard work of Opsopaus, we have “The Sacred Texts of Hellenic Polytheism”, which is based off of the table of contents and sixteen chapters of the “Book of Laws” as well as other texts by Plethon.

Plethon writes that his theology isn’t anything new and is based on “notions common to humankind and supported by reason.” To this end, Plethon establishes a “Golden Chain” comprised of six lawgivers, seven legendary sages, seven sages of ancient Greece, and eight Platonic philosophers. Each link providing the insights that the “Book of Laws” draws upon. This is followed by an exploration of deities and the divine, which logically falls into the evocations, rituals, the sacred calendar, and more. Opsopaus has reconstructed Plethon’s ancient practices into a format for interested, modern seekers.

“The Secret Texts of Hellenic Polytheism” by John Opsopaus is a fascinating look at ancient Greek thought and practices. It may not be required reading for everyone, but those who it resonates with will find it indispensable.

You can learn more here.

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Dominatrix on Trial

I know it will surprise no one familiar with the United States and its citizens that we are generally ignorant of what happens in other countries, even Canada, one of our closest neighbors that even has a shared language with us. This is why when I was offered a review copy of “Dominatrix on Trial: How a Canadian Dominatrix Fought the Law and Won” by Terri-Jean Bedford. I had no clue who Bedford was, and no idea about her role in legal history in Canada.

This is a riveting autobiography that let’s American readers learn a few things about our neighbors to north; Canadians, particularly the politicians, can be just as big of puritanical hypocrites as any United States citizen, and they’re justice system suffers from much the same horrible flaws as ours. Yes, Canada has some issues despite tighter gun laws and better healthcare coverage. Terri-Jean Bedford outlines her life from her beginnings in poverty, to successful dominatrix, to years of legal proceedings that ultimately changed prostitution laws in Canada.

And Bedford is a capable storyteller, she knows what the reader wants. Years of legal bureaucracy is recreated on the page to frustrating effect thanks to court transcriptions. All the while, interspersed, are stories about what it takes to be a dominatrix and first-hand accounts of her experiences with clients. All in all, it makes for a compelling page turner. Honestly, “Dominatrix on Trial” has all the makings for a docuseries, and the fact that one doesn’t exist based off the book is a genuine surprise. I will admit, due to the self-published nature of the original text in 2011, and the work of Riverdale Avenue Books for its release in 2022, “Dominatrix on Trial” suffers from a few confusing bits of formatting that could use cleaning up for future reprints, but it is not enough to take away from a great read.

If you’re looking for an eye-opening read, I cannot recommend “Dominatrix on Trial” by Terri-Jean Bedford enough.

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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Cultivating Grace

I am fortunate that I get offered the opportunity to review lots of books and decks. If you’re part of my Patreon, you’ve seen my reasoning behind some of the items I’ve chosen to review. When I was offered a copy of the deck “Cultivating Grace: Access Inner Peace, Clarity, and Joy on Your Spiritual Path” by Miranda Macpherson I accepted, and I could not tell you why. It didn’t look awful, but it also didn’t seem like something I would enjoy, and yet, I wanted to review it. I’m glad I did.

“Cultivating Grace” is a remarkably well-thought-out deck for self-reflection and discovery. The 64-card deck is divided into 4 categories of cards: Grounding in Grace, Receiving Blessings of Grace, Transforming Power of Grace, and Embodying Grace. Macpherson considers grace a nondenominational direct experience of the Divine, a felt experience of the Sacred, that is the practical key to gaining traction on your spiritual path and finding true fulfillment.

Each card features beautiful art by Anna Kuptsova and ideas to reflect on and practice. Macpherson’s appreciation of classic spiritual thought is obvious when reading the accompanying guidebook, and unlike some decks I highly recommend reading the guidebook as it offers much more than just card descriptions. Also, I just need to mention, you get the beautiful 64-card deck, which comes in a lovely fabric bag and a full-color 176-page guidebook, all in a compact, sturdy box for the suggested retail price of $18.99. That’s just shockingly reasonable.

“Cultivating Grace” by Miranda Macpherson is scheduled to come 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.)

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The Other Side of Nothing

It is no secret that I love Brad Warner. I think I have all his books, some I purchased myself, and some I received from publishers to review. And since it is no secret, New World Library was kind enough to ask me if I wanted a copy of his latest book “The Other Side of Nothing: The Zen Ethics of Time, Space, and Being” to review, and of course I said yes. In the pie chart that makes up “Rebecca’s Personal Spiritual Practice”, Brad Warner and Zen Buddhism take up a considerable wedge.

Anyone who has read anything about Zen Buddhism knows that Zen is stupidly simple, and infuriatingly complex. Thus, why should I be surprised that the ethics of Zen are extremely straightforward, and mind-warpingly complicated. Warner takes up the daunting challenge of tackling the subject with his usual brand of traditionalism cut with ample references to “Ancient Aliens”, giant Japanese fighting monsters, and now including stories about his dog Ziggy Pup (who is adorable and has his own Instagram).

A book about Zen ethics could have been summed up with, “Don’t Be a Dick” or “Don’t Be a Jerk” (which is the title of one of Warner’s earlier books). See? Easy! Obviously, it’s more involved than that. You get to condensed “Don’t Be a Dick” by learning the Four Noble Truths and following the Noble Eightfold Path. “The Other Side of Nothing” does an excellent job discussing those topics in depth, and that’s where things get complicated. Zen ethics exist the way they do because of the unique perspective Zen masters had of everything, and nothing, and space, and the mind, and no-mind, and I think you may be starting to grasp how things get mind-warpy. Add into that the difference a translation can make. A difference that Warner highlights throughout by comparing the way different modern day and past Zen groups interpret the same sentence.

“The Other Side of Nothing” by Brad Warner is the book I personally have been waiting for since reading “Sit Down and Shut Up” years ago. It is one thing to grasp how to practice Zen, but “The Other Side of Nothing” shows you how you live Zen. And as with all things Zen, it is a complicatedly simple way to live.

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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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.)

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Joy

Seven years ago, new age musicians Paul Avgerinos and Kevin Braheny Fortune won a Grammy for their album “Grace.” An album, that I would like to point out, I gave a positive review at the time. I was happy to learn that Avgerinos and Fortune have worked together to release a new album that feels like the spiritual successor to “Grace”, “Joy.”

Interestingly, the titles of the tracks form a poem that is supposed to express the true nature of real joy.

Joy Is

Subtle
Content
Innocence

Rising
Simplicity
Childlike
Tranquility

Serene
Rivers of Light
Ascending

Maybe it’s because I listened to it while at work, but “Joy” had me wistfully watching the birds through my office window. Whereas the last album I reviewed, David Arkenstone’s “Music Inspired by Middle Earth Volume II” had my pulse quicken with a sense of adventure, Avgerinos’ “Joy” seemed to say, “Slow down. Take in the moment.”

“Joy” would be wonderful way to ease into your morning or with which to reflect on your day. If you’re interested, check out the video below.

You can learn more here.

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Tarot for Real Life

How does he do it? Seriously, how does Jack Chanek pull it off? You may remember how much I adored his previous book, “Qabalah for Wiccans”, which in all honesty should have been titled “Qabalah for Everyone” because it was the first book on Qabalah that really clicked for me, and would work for anyone, Wiccan or otherwise. Well, he back with “Tarot for Real Life: Use the Cards to Find Answers to Everyday Questions,” and yes, he did it again.

Now, when it comes to tarot, I know a thing or two. Not to toot my own horn, but I do some halfway decent monthly single card tarot forecasts on my Patreon. Yet, there is no denying that Chanek’s ability to breakdown complex systems and present them in an accessible order is perfect for tarot. Much like when reading “Qabalah for Wiccans,” I found myself giddy with excitement in achieving better understanding. And with the book’s emphasis on real life applications, “Tarot for Real Life” really IS tarot for real life!

“Tarot for Real Life” by Jack Chanek is an absolute must for anyone starting on the path of tarot reading, but I think even an experienced tarot reader can find something to take away from 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 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

The Lighter Side of Yoga

Mike Nevitt gets it. I’ve never met the long-time yoga and meditation instructor, but his voice, and his humor, resonates with anyone who has worked in a service industry and/or has interacted with “spiritual” communities. His comic strips, compiled into “The Lighter Side of Yoga”, is a guaranteed good time.

Nevitt’s adorable doodles tell immediately familiar stories of competitive enlightenment, tipsy yoga practice, hijinks at spiritual retreats, vegan humor, and so much more. You’ll find yourself chuckling and nodding in agreement as you read over a hundred strips. I found myself considering removing individual pages of the book just to frame and hang on my wall.


At a reasonable price, cute art, and amusing, observational humor, I highly recommend getting yourself a copy of “The Lighter Side of Yoga.”

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