Living Magic

“Living Magic: Contemporary Insights and Experiences from Practicing Magicians” by Frater U∴D∴ is a collection of essays about magic from the founding members of the Bonn Workshop for Experimental Magic in Germany. Although anticipating discussions about magic, I wasn’t prepared from the biographical angle of the book. You’ll find interviews and personal recollections. I didn’t mind because I’m nosey by nature and love to learn about the practitioners as much as the practice, but it is something to keep in mind.

“Living Magic” is well-written, and I found many of the essays provided food for thought. If you’re interested in magic, particularly from the Western occult tradition, I’d recommend giving this book a try.

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

Banned Books Week 2021

As you may or not know, yesterday was the start of Banned Books Week! We always celebrate here at The Magical Buffet. The American Library Association, along with assorted schools, stores, authors, and more, come together for one week to bring attention to continued attempts to limit what people can read.

This year’s theme is, “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.” Sharing stories important to us means sharing a part of ourselves. Books reach across boundaries and build connections between readers. Censorship, on the other hand, creates barriers. – from the ALA website.

The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted for removal or restriction in libraries and schools. And just like in year’s past, I’m here today to make you aware of the top 10 challenged books of 2020. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 156 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services in 2020. Of the 273 books that were targeted, here are the most challenged, along with the reasons cited for censoring the books:

George by Alex Gino

Reasons: Challenged, banned, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, conflicting with a religious viewpoint, and not reflecting “the values of our community”

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds

Reasons: Banned and challenged because of author’s public statements, and because of claims that the book contains “selective storytelling incidents” and does not encompass racism against all people

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, drug use, and alcoholism, and because it was thought to promote anti-police views, contain divisive topics, and be “too much of a sensitive matter right now”

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted because it was thought to contain a political viewpoint and it was claimed to be biased against male students, and for the novel’s inclusion of rape and profanity

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and allegations of sexual misconduct by the author

Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin

Reasons: Challenged for “divisive language” and because it was thought to promote anti-police views

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Reasons: Banned and challenged for racial slurs and their negative effect on students, featuring a “white savior” character, and its perception of the Black experience

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Reasons: Banned and challenged for racial slurs and racist stereotypes, and their negative effect on students

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Reasons: Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and depicts child sexual abuse

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Reasons: Challenged for profanity, and it was thought to promote an anti-police message

If you want to support these authors, independent bookstores, and myself, consider visiting my online bookshop where for your convenience you can shop all these titles. (You’ll also find the beginnings of other book lists. I add to the shop as time allows.)

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

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.

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

Tree Magic Review and Giveaway

It’s time for a heart to heart. Sandra Kynes is way under appreciated. Why is that? Is it because while other authors are curating their Instagram grids, she has had her nose to grindstone, steadily and consistently authoring dozens of books about everything ranging from crystals to plants to symbols and more? This isn’t meant to be a slam on the social media savvy authors out there, many of whom I enjoy following greatly, but what I’m trying to say is that Kynes has been doing the work. I can’t help but feel like for her it has been thankless job.

For example, with what seems like zero fanfare, Kynes latest book “Tree Magic: Connecting with the Spirit & Wisdom of Trees” released. Do magical folks no longer care about trees? Seems unlikely. But if for some reason you’ve been lacking enthusiasm for trees, “Tree Magic” will fix that! The core, or perhaps roots is a better term, of the book come from Kyne’s 2006 book “Whispers from the Woods.” However, “Tree Magic” is thoroughly revised and greatly expanded with a focus on magical practices. Kynes profiles over 60 trees including scientific information, astrological correspondences, deities associated with certain trees, elemental correspondences, wildlife and magical creatures that favor each tree, powers and attributes of the tree, and even more! The extensive information provided allows you to use the tree as a focus of your magic, or as an enhancement to your already existent magical practices.

Sandra Kyne’s “Tree Magic” is filled with so many new ideas I found myself, a non-nature-oriented gal, inspired to look for new ways to use them in my personal practice.

You can learn more here.

Are you looking for tree inspiration? Tree-spiration? The good news is, Sandra Kynes was kind enough to give us a signed copy of her latest book to giveaway! As per usual, we’ll be using Rafflecopter! Giveaway ends at 11:59pm eastern on 09/11/2021. Must be 18 years or older to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Passport to the Paranormal

I love books that give me excuses. Books about magical cocktails as an excuse to drink. Books about food magic as an excuse to eat. Books about magical places as an excuse to travel. I’m an enabler who loves to be enabled herself. Therefore, I read “Passport to the Paranormal: Your Guide to Haunted Spots in America” by Rich Newman. (“200 Terrifying Places You Can Visit!” the cover touts.)

There is no shortage of ways to learn about creepy locales, in America or internationally, particularly if you have access to the Discovery Channel. Even the book’s author refers to visiting many of the locations mentioned in the book while filming for a Japanese television show about the paranormal. I’m not going to lie; the paranormal location marketplace is crowded. Bordering on, too crowded? Yet here I am, writing about Newman’s latest. Why?

“Passport to the Paranormal” narrows the focus to the United States and given the lockdown way we’re living our lives these days closer to home is good. Also, I don’t know the author personally, but in writing he’s far more entertaining than many hosts of paranormal television shows. And in even more enabling, “Passport to the Paranormal” also includes tourism tips.

Rich Newman’s “Passport to the Paranormal” is a thorough and entertaining entry in the paranormal places’ genre. If you’re looking for an excuse to travel, you’ll find it here!

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

Iconic Tarot Decks

Today we have an AMAZING book to discuss. It’s both #bookporn and #tarotporn. It is a sexy hunk of book titled, “Iconic Tarot Decks: The History, Symbolism and Design of over 50 Decks” by Sarah Bartlett.

One of the amazing, impressive, and sexy things about “Iconic Tarot Decks” is the sheer volume of full color images of tarot cards. Contrary to what you may think from the way things are on the internet, images of tarot cards, including “Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot”, are copyrighted images and not to be used on resale items without permission. I don’t know if it’s the publisher, Bartlett or both who deserve a hearty pat on the back for securing the rights to such a variety of decks, from so many different companies. But from those of us who know, thank you, it is greatly appreciated.

Although not a book about learning to use tarot cards, “Iconic Tarot Decks” opens with a basic overview of how to use tarot decks. It’s a nice, tidy guide that includes a few all-purpose spreads. Bartlett follows with a broad strokes history of tarot cards and decks, exploring the most academically accepted origins of the cards. However, “Iconic Tarot Decks” isn’t about generalized tarot history, but about specific decks.

Bartlett discusses 50 different tarot decks. How did she settle on these 50? I wouldn’t even know how to decide which decks to profile! Is it just me, or would you like to know too? She divides the decks into five categories: influential decks, beginner’s divination decks, art and collector’s decks, esoteric and occult decks, and contemporary decks. Each deck features its unique history as well as where it fits in with regards to the history of tarot. You learn about the art, design, inspiration, and more. And of course, plenty of full-color examples of the cards!

“Iconic Tarot Decks” by Sarah Bartlett is a beautiful artbook meets tarot history. An interesting resource for those who love tarot, and just as wonderful as a coffee table artbook. I sincerely hope to see more books like this!

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

Mysteries of the Werewolf

I LOVE CLAUDE LECOUTEUX.

Honestly, I should skip writing reviews of his books and just tell you when a new one comes out. I mean, at this point you know what I’m going to say. Lecouteux’s field of study is medieval literature, which at first, I thought was weird but then realized made perfect sense. His ability to suss through medieval literature lends itself to making insightful connections between various texts. And now, I love each of his books. Of course, today I’m discussing a new one, “Mysteries of the Werewolf: Shapeshifting, Magic & Protection.”

Where to begin with werewolves? Where CAN’T you? Lecouteux explores historical texts from EVERYWHERE: medieval Europe (of course), early Greece, 20th century Romania, 10th century China, 19th century Russia, 1st century Rome, and I think you’re starting to get the point. There are so many ways one becomes a werewolf or were-creature. Sometimes it’s a blessing, many times it’s a curse. Sometimes it can be undone, or controlled, other times, it’s a lifetime. “Mysteries of the Werewolf” explores it all.

What can I say? Lecouteux does it again. If you’re interested in werewolves, this is a great resource!

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

Manifestation Magic

I’ve never met Elhoim Leafar in person, but his presence on Twitter has certainly established him as one of the sweetest people on the internet in my mind. His latest book, “Manifestation Magic: 21 Rituals, Spells, and Amulets for Abundance, Prosperity, and Wealth” cements it in my mind. Leafar is such a nice guy.

“Manifestation Magic” is self-help, meets new age, meets folk magic in all the best ways. Leafar encourages you to examine your relationship with money, find your personal definition of abundance, and reflect on magic. Throughout the book Leafar shares personal examples of all of this from his life. What you won’t find is any of the judgement or shaming that frequently lurk in prosperity texts.

As promised, there are plenty of rituals, spells, and amulets to be found. Most make use of readily accessible things that many may already have in their home.

If you’re interested in manifesting abundance, you should try out “Manifestation Magic” by Elhoim Leafar.

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

New World Witchery

I don’t know where to begin with today’s review. “New World Witchery” by Cory Thomas Hutcheson is my kind of a book. A book I always wanted to find, but never did. Obviously until now.

“New World Witchery: A Trove of North American Folk Magic” by Cory Thomas Hutcheson delivers on its subtitle. It is an amazing treasure trove of North American folk magic. Unbeknownst to me there is a podcast called “New World Witchery” that Hutcheson is the cohost. He also has a doctorate in American Studies with specializations in folklore, religion, and ethnicity from Penn State. Is this the North American Claude Lecouteux we’ve been waiting for? Or at least I’VE been waiting for? By all indications, yes!

The main difference between the 100% scholarly writings of Lecouteux and what you’ll find in “New World Witchery” is that Hutcheson also provides ways to practice some of the folk magic found in the different branches of North American magic. Hutcheson divides the book into 12 rites (essentially 12 parts): naming, initiation, casting the spell, second sight, flight, chewing the root, the familiar, hallowing the ground, calling the moon, working the charm, necromancy, and invisibility. Each section is filled with primary source writings about witchcraft and folk magic. There are also biographies of many of North America’s folk magic forebearers. And, of course, the aforementioned magical exercises you can try yourself.

Just in case this all wasn’t enough to nerd out too, there is a big ol’ bibliography and recommended reading.

I truly cannot imagine anyone who wouldn’t enjoy “New World Witchery” by Cory Thomas Hutcheson, which is why I’m so excited to say that I have an extra copy of this book to offer in a giveaway!

This giveaway is open to people 18 years-old and up in the United States. As usual, I’m using Rafflecopter. Giveaway ends on Saturday 08/01/2021 at 11:59pm eastern.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

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.

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