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.

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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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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.

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eDNA Proof of Bigfoot?

It may surprise you to know that I receive press releases regularly from the Discovery Channel. I rarely share the info because most of the time it is just alerting me to the start of their assorted paranormal-esque show’s seasons. However, occasionally one of them catches my eye, which is what we have here. Last week I received this press release from Discovery:

NEW YORK (March 3, 2021) – The EXPEDITION BIGFOOT team collected surprising DNA evidence while in the field searching for the most famous and elusive cryptid, Bigfoot. Throughout their two-month journey, the team – Bryce Johnson (expedition operations), Dr. Mireya Mayor (primatologist), Russell Acord (ex-military/survivalist) and Ronny LeBlanc (Bigfoot researcher) – used the latest in advanced technologies to narrow their search within the designated target zones, beginning in Kentucky and then switching mid-expedition to Washington State. As the investigation intensified, possible evidence that Bigfoot may be in the area began to surface – vocalizations, unexplained structures commonly described by Bigfoot witnesses and massive 16-inch footprints that no man could have left behind.

During filming deep in the wilderness of Kentucky’s Appalachian highlands, eDNA collected from soil under a massive tree structure found by Dr. Mayor and LeBlanc produced surprising and exciting results. Environmental DNA (eDNA) is the genetic material naturally left behind by animals in the environment. Scientific analysis of these samples helps generate a snapshot of any living creatures. This revolutionary new tool is increasingly used to confirm the presence of elusive animals.

“This scientific expedition may have finally taken one of the world’s greatest mysteries out of the pages of legend and lore and into reality,” said Dr. Mayor.

Miroslava Munguia Ramos, project manager at the UCLA California Environmental DNA program, has analyzed the eDNA sample from the tree structure. Following are her observations.

• “We received soil samples from your team and took a few months to get them processed. What we’re looking at are the unique organisms that we were able to identify. Our software does what’s known as metabar coding. So, it’ll match up all the DNA sequences that we were able to detect and try to cross reference them with the thousands of genomes that have been published and it’s pretty common that when we’re looking at environmental DNA samples, we detect humans, because there’s going be human traces almost everywhere.”

• “But what I found very interesting was that, yes, we have detected human DNA in these areas, but we’re still seeing different primate DNA. There wasn’t just one human primate, there are several different primates, some sort of primate relative that exists in the data.”

• “Pan troglodyte is a species of chimpanzee, which you would not see in the areas you’re at. It’s a real head scratcher. It’s important to note that the higher the detection, the more confidence we can say that whatever organism, whatever taxonomy we’re looking at was apparent in the area. And in this case, we’re looking at the Pan genus, or the chimpanzee genus…. there’s 3000 reads.”
• “The technology is constantly improving, it’s getting more accurate, and now it just really comes down to making sure we have enough samples and we’re confident that whatever we’re studying is a unique species.”

Dr. Mayor expanded on this unique discovery.

• “Finding what appears to be a very large structure, seemingly created with intention and requiring great strength as well as foresight, is interesting. It is not unheard of for primates to stack sticks or rocks, although for me, the jury is still out as to what that was. There is no guess work in science. It is great is that eDNA was collected from that site. That may give us the answers we are looking for.”

• “The process of describing and confirming a new species is difficult. DNA is absolutely essential in the scientific community to prove that something is a new or recognized species. You have eyewitness accounts from tens of thousands of people who say they have encountered Bigfoot, some coming forward with blurry videos and photographs. But that is just not going to cut it. What we need is indisputable genetic evidence to really put this mystery to rest. And there’s no doubt in my mind that we are headed in the right direction.”

When it comes to “big” discoveries, such as definitive “proof” of a paranormal creature’s existence, I won’t be hearing about it only on the season finale of “Expedition Bigfoot” on Discovery+. That news will be EVERYWHERE IMMEDIATELY. Now, that’s not to say that this isn’t interesting, and credit where it’s due, Discovery didn’t pitch this to me as THE proof. Still, I can’t help but feel like they want us to be overly excited about something that’s more of a, “Huh. That’s interesting,” type of thing.

If you are interested, “Expedition Bigfoot” is currently streaming on Discovery+, with the season finale being Sunday, March 28, 2021.

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Finding Faeries

I never get tired of dictionaries/encyclopedias/guidebooks about mythological or cryptozoological creatures. That said, there are no shortage of books like that out there to read. What IS a different, and offers a unique take on the subject, is “Finding Faeries: Discovering Sprites, Pixies, Redcaps and Other Fantastical Creatures in an Urban Environment” by Alexandra Rowland.

“Finding Faeries” explores creatures of folklore and what happens when those legends migrate to new lands and urban environments. They discuss everything from faeries to black dogs, and Thunderbirds to dryads. Rowland does an excellent job blending tales of the past with the realities of the present. Their writing style is informative and entertaining, and throughout the book are wonderful illustrations by Miles Äijälä. Just when you think you are done; you are given instructions on how to go out in the world with a fresh set of eyes to find the magic around you.

“Finding Faeries” is actuality quite the achievement. Entertaining and informative, while being sensitive to the assorted cultures involved and emphasizing the importance of environmental conservation.

You can learn more here.

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Battle of the Dragon Oracle Decks

If you follow The Magical Buffet on social media, you’ve watched the evolution of this review idea. What started as an overall preference for me to review the dragon themed oracle deck I received, quickly morphed into a “battle of the dragon oracles” when I received a SECOND dragon themed oracle. Here we are, two decks enter and well, two deck will leave because destroying perfectly good oracle decks would be stupid.


“Dragon Wisdom” is a 43-card oracle deck and book by Christine Arana Fader with illustrations by Anja Kostka. It is beautifully illustrated drawing on the four elements and figures from mythology, as well as dragons. Duh! Its suggested retail price is $19.99.


“Dragon Path Oracle Cards” is a 33-card oracle deck and book by Caroline Mitchell with illustrations by Tiras Verey. This deck features gorgeous art of dragons from four clans: Earth Walk Dragons, Galactic Dragons, Grand Master Dragons, and Guardian Dragons. Its suggested retail price is $22.95.

Being oracle decks, both are versatile in how they can be used, and both books feature several ideas as to how to use them. Both Fader and Mitchell are passionate about dragons, and both Kostka and Verey are gifted artists. In all honesty, these two decks have a lot in common. I’m unable to declare one truly superior to the other, or a personal preference. I mean, for me, what’s better than dragons? MORE DRAGONS! Particularly when they’re so beautifully rendered in decks so intuitive in their use.

Try to decide for yourself with the links below!

Want to learn more about “Dragon Wisdom”? Click here.

Want to learn more about “Dragon Path Oracle Cards”? Click here.

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Medusa is My Homegirl

When you’re young in school studying mythology the only thing you learn about Medusa is that she was a monster whose gaze would turn living things to stone that Perseus killed for, reasons. And then Perseus chops off Medusa’s head and uses it as a weapon. At least that is as involved as it got when I went to school. However, there is more to Medusa than that. A complex background that I feel makes Medusa more of a martyr than a monster.

Medusa was once a mortal woman. In one story, Medusa was a beautiful woman that the goddess Minerva feared was more attractive than she. To assure her status, Minerva turned her into a creature with hissing snakes for hair. Once Perseus was done with Medusa’s head, he gave it to Minerva who put it on her shield. In an even more messed up version, the beautiful Medusa was raped by Poseidon in a temple dedicated to Athena. This so enraged Athena that she turned Medusa into the snake-haired monster whose gaze turned living things to stone. No matter which way you slice it, Medusa was a victim.

Eventually, we get to Perseus, the guy who slew Medusa. King Polydectes sends Perseus to retrieve the head of Medusa because the King wants to marry Perseus’s mother, which is some royal logic I don’t understand. Some versions mention Medusa laying waste to the country. A country that branded her a monster because she was punished for being attractive and a victim of rape. In case all of this isn’t messed up enough for you, some of these stories say Medusa was pregnant with Poseidon’s child when she was killed. It’s all good though, because Medusa’s blood produced the Pegasus, a mythological creature I can never look at the same with this knowledge.

I hope this has caused you to reconsider Medusa’s place within the divine feminine. If you don’t want to include her in your divine pantheon, I do hope you will at least no longer consider her a monster.

If this article moved you, I encourage you to check out my “Medusa is my Homegirl” line of merchandise! You can find it all here.

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A Stampede of Unicorns

It’s here, the comparative review weeks in the making. Battle of the Unicorn Books! Through a combination of shipping mishaps and publishing trends, I received 3 different books centered on unicorns from two different publishers at the same time! When I realized I was up to my armpits in unicorn books, I thought it only made sense to read one after the other and do a big ol’ review. Better still, the shipping mishaps are enabling me to give some away too!

Who are the contenders in this battle royale?

“The Wonder of Unicorns: Ascending with the Higher Angelic Realms” by Diana Cooper
“Unicorn Magic: Awaken to Mystical Energy & Embrace Your Personal Power” by Tess Whitehurst
“Llewellyn’s Little Book of Unicorns” by Angela A. Wix

So, who was first?

That would be “The Wonder of Unicorns” by Diana Cooper. It was originally published in 2008 and is now being reprinted in a new edition as of November 2019. Next up is “Llewellyn’s Little Book of Unicorns” by Angela A. Wix, which was published September 2019. And last, but not least, is “Unicorn Magic” by Tess Whitehurst which also came out in November 2019.

“The Wonder of Unicorns” is 240 pages of angelic themed unicorns. It features full color illustrations by Damian Keenan throughout and is $18.99. For Cooper, unicorns are another aspect of the Divine. She explores unicorn legends with the perspective of them being angelic beings. Her book explains their angelic realm and hierarchy. She goes on to provide meditations and rituals to help you contact their dimension and work with them. They take on a Guardian Angel role in the lives of those who wish to invite them in. Out of the three books, “The Wonder of Unicorns” is definitely for those who wish to explore a potential angelic aspect to the creatures.

You can learn more here.

Next, what is black, white, and pink all over? “Llewellyn’s Little Book of Unicorns” by Angela A. Wix. It’s a 264 page hard cover perfectly sized to keep on you at all times. And you should keep it on you because her book does a great job of introducing unicorn energy into your life, and helping you recognize the unicorn that’s already there. Mundane tasks like cleaning take on a new energy. Beautiful crystals you may already own have new purposes. In fact, mindfulness, chakras, and more get a fresh unicorn perspective in this book!

You can learn more here.

I have a particular soft spot for the last title, “Unicorn Magic”, because it was written by Tess Whitehurst, who I had the pleasure of interviewing in 2015. Her book is filled to the brim with her positive, kick ass attitude. Whitehurst’s book is a 288 page self-help journey with a unicorn travel guide. She encourages you to find, create, and embrace beauty. If you want to be a better version of yourself, this is the book for you!

You can learn more here.

Now, thanks to the generosity of the publishers, we have a giveaway for ALL the books! That’s right! Follow the Rafflecopter contest below to enter. Contest ends at 11:59pm 01/19/2020.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Not sure you’ll win? Reading this after the contest is over? Either way, below are affiliate links to IndieBound, which supports independent bookstores throughout the United States. If you use these links to purchase the book, I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org
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Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org
Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org
Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

Familiars in Witchcraft

When I saw “Familiars in Witchcraft: Supernatural Guardians in the Magical Traditions of the World” by Maja D’Aoust I knew I wanted to read it. Who doesn’t love learning about those adorable animal familiars? In retrospect, it was a pretty myopic view. Fortunately, D’Aoust opened my eyes into what makes a familiar.

There’s so much more in the world to be considered a “familiar” than your typical black cat. D’Aoust takes a truly global approach to the conversation. Her discussion of Greek belly-talkers and sibyls and the source of their powers was eye-opening. The examination of the role of angels in Judeo-Christianity was something I never considered before as a “familiar” relationship. D’Aoust also looks at fairies, familiars in Chinese legend, and even their appearance in India. I also want to mention that the author’s own artwork is used throughout the book. It’s unusual that the author provides their own art, and in this case helps bring extra vitality to her words.

“Familiars in Witchcraft” is wonderful, global look at what defines a familiar and how that title is mutable depending on culture. A worthwhile read for all those interested in spirit.

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.