Soul Cats Tarot

I had to say yes when offered the opportunity to review “Soul Cats Tarot” by Leeza Robertson with art by Adam Oehlers. I’m good friends with Deborah Blake, an author well known for her affection for cats. If she found out I had the opportunity to review a cat-based tarot deck and passed, well, she wouldn’t be angry, just disappointed. And here we are….

“Soul Cats Tarot” is a traditional tarot told through the whimsical and sometimes treacherous world of cats. The major arcana features mixed breed cats, whereas the minor arcana are specific breeds: Cups are Bengal, Wands are Bombay, Swords are Siamese, and Pentacles are Maine Coon. And I would be remiss if at this point I didn’t mention the fabulous artwork done by Adam Oehlers. I wasn’t familiar with his work before, but I’ll be on the lookout for it in the future.

Leeza Robertson’s cat inspiration and Adam Oehlers artwork have created an evocative deck that should resonate with many tarot fans.

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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When do Atheists Conceal Their Identity?

I received a press release regarding a recently published study, “Patterns of Perceived Hostility and Identity Concealment among Self-Identified Atheists”. The study used survey data from a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults and examined which atheists are more likely to hide their religious identity and why.

From the press release, “While certain atheists were more likely to conceal their identity depending on where they lived or with whom they were affiliated, they were still less likely to conceal their identity when compared to other non-religious groups, such as agnostics or those who simply say they do not have a religion, the researchers wrote.

Frost, a postdoctoral research fellow in sociology and the Religion and Public Life Program at Rice and the study’s lead author, said that findings about atheists hiding their religious beliefs aren’t surprising. Previous research shows atheists are among the least liked and most distrusted minority groups in the U.S.

‘If someone is already in a marginalized group — like women — or are members of a group that is heavily religious — such as Republicans or southern Americans — it stands to reason they are less likely to take on the additional stigma of being an ‘out’ atheist,’ she said.

‘Earlier research has also shown that atheists are more likely to report discrimination on the basis of their atheism in social settings, at school and at work’, Frost said.

A 2015 survey from the Pew Research Center found the number of people who claim no religious affiliation had increased to 25%. That raises a question among researchers studying this subject: What can be done to support and protect this growing group of people in the U.S.?

‘Our research suggests that openness about one’s atheist identity may help combat some of the effects of the stigma they face,’ said Ecklund, director of the Religion and Public Life Program and a Herbert S. Autrey Professor of Social Sciences at Rice.

‘In addition, the ability to gather with fellow atheists may help encourage this openness and provide individuals with a safe place to seek support in the face of discrimination,’ Scheitle said.

The researchers wrote that their findings are valuable for understanding the many different types of religious discrimination. The work also helps better understand how to address and cope with negative side effects of this mistreatment.

The study was conducted with support from the National Science Foundation and the Religion and Public Life Program. (“Religion-Related Bias Victimization: Addressing a Blind-Spot,” National Science Foundation, Grant 1753972, Elaine Howard Ecklund, PI, Christopher P. Scheitle, Co-PI.) The article is available online at https://doi.org/10.1093/sf/soab165.”

I agree with the abstract from the study that says, “These findings have implications for how researchers understand the context-specific nature of religious discrimination, as well as implications for research on stigma management and the ways that the shifting religious and political landscape in the United States shapes the expression of atheist identities.”

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The Book of Celtic Verse

If you’re followed The Magical Buffet for a while, you know that I don’t really do poetry on here. Everyone has a different idea as to what constitutes “good” poetry and that opinion becomes even more disparate the more modern the poetry is, at least it appears that way to me. So, when I received an email inquiring as to whether I wished to review “The Book of Celtic Verse: A Treasury of Poetry, Dreams & Visions” edited by John Matthews, I nearly automatically hit delete. Fortunately, I took a second look because John Matthews has put together something special, particularly for those who interests lie with Celtic traditions.

From Matthews introduction, “This collection of Celtic poetry and versecraft spans some 15 centuries and refers to the linguistic group that includes Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Cornwall and Brittany. These areas are deemed Celtic from the fact that the Celts settled in these lands and have remained there, despite several conquests, ever since.” I don’t envy the enormous task Matthews undertook in compiling this book.

In his research Matthews realized the unifying themes in the prose he read and thus compiled “The Book of Celtic Verse” into five parts: Part One: Spells and Incantations (The Poetry of Magic), Part Two: The High Dream of Nature (The Poetry of the Natural World), Part Three: Lovers Under Leaf (The Poetry of Love), Part Four: Warrior and Warlords (War Songs and Praise Poems), and Part Five: Voice of the Spirit (The Poetry of Vision).

“The Book Celtic Verse” is a wonderful book for lovers of Celtic history, poetry, and magic.

Silences by Iolo Aneurin Williams

We glide and are still on the river
In quiet that drugs the wit,
The sun has charmed our hearts
As the day is charmed with it.

And the little owl in the willow –
So passionless, still, we seem –
As little fears our passing
As he fears the passing stream.

The sun has charmed our hearts,
Our sense, to tranquility –
Quiet as weeds in the river
Or the little owl in the tree.

You can learn more here.

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Top 10 Video Game to Film Wish List

Anyone who has had a wonderful, immersive, video game playing experience has thought it. “This would make an awesome movie.” We all know to be careful of what you wish for, because movies based on video games still tend towards the bad end of the film spectrum. However, I’m sure you’ve thought about it. FandomSpot.com certainly has, and they polled 2,000 of their community members to find the top ten game to movie adaptations on their wish list.

1. The Legend of Zelda
2. Grand Theft Auto
3. Horizon: Zero Dawn
4. God of War
5. Hollow Knight
6. Animal Crossing
7. Final Fantasy
8. Fallout
9. Super Mario
10. Red Dead Redemption

I’ll admit, I’ve had movie adaptation thoughts about Grand Theft Auto, God of War, Fallout, and Red Dead Redemption. I would add Saint’s Row to the list, probably based of Saint’s Row 3. I can certainly understand the potential of The Legend of Zelda or Final Fantasy. I’m not as familiar with the other games on the list, but after the Super Mario Bros movie from the 1990’s, are we in that big of a hurry to try it again?

You can read the full article here.

What video games would you like to see a movie adaptation for?

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The Watkins Tarot Handbook

There are plenty of book out there devoted to tarot. Some our devoted to using tarot to divine the future, and many more discuss using the tarot as a tool for self-reflection. When I was offered the opportunity to review “The Watkins Tarot Handbook: A Practical System of Self-Discovery” by Naomi Ozaniec, I was expecting a vaguely new age, self-help book that utilized tarot. What I got was a jaw dropping, initiatory experience.

Ozaniec’s reading of tarot is that, “The language of the Tarot is that of the symbol in many forms: numerical, mythical, elemental, zodiacal, alchemical and Hermetic,” and that it’s, “a visual representation of the Western Esoteric Tradition.” This certainly isn’t the first book about tarot that I’ve seen make these observations, however “The Watkins Tarot Handbook” exceeds expectations when it comes to proving its point. Sure, like many books about tarot, you’ll find images of classic tarot cards, but in this book, you’ll also see the Wheel of Correspondences (as produced by Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki), Strephon Kaplan Williams model of The Seven Archetypes, a table of Hebrew letters, the Tree of Life, the Psychosynthesis Egg, and so much more. Ozaniec’s version of tarot is a full-on initiation in the Western magical traditions.

“The Watkins Tarot Handbook” by Naomi Ozaniec is an amazing resource for any interested in anything occult. This book teaches you tarot and just so much more.

You can learn more here.

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Your State’s Gun Grade

I just received a press release from Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, with respect to their Annual Gun Law Scorecard. Each year, their attorneys track and analyze gun legislation in all 50 states, assigning laws and policies point values. States are ranked and given letter grades, which are then compared to the most recent gun death rates released by the CDC.

***

“In 2021, a number of state legislatures took the threat of gun violence seriously and passed 75 new laws in 27 states and Washington DC. In the latest edition of the Annual Gun Law Scorecard, Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence graded and ranked each state on the strength of its gun laws, showing that states with stronger gun laws have lower gun death rates and save more lives.

New York received an A- due to its gun safety laws. In 2020, the last year for which data is available, 1,052 people died from firearm injuries in New York, representing a 35% increase in the gun death rate in the state over the previous year. The increase in gun deaths was primarily driven by increases in gun homicides, which comprised 53% of all gun deaths in the state in 2020. From 2019 to 2020, the gun homicide rate rose 75%. The number of firearm suicides remained roughly stable from 2019 to 2020, with 462 such deaths in 2020 and 455 such deaths in 2019. Among the states, New York saw the second largest overall gun death rate increase and the largest gun homicide rate increase.

In 2021, New York passed legislation allowing the gun industry to be held liable for irresponsible and illegal behavior, strengthened investments in community violence intervention programs, and banned the possession, manufacture, or sale of ghost guns. In order to improve its grade, New York should continue to strengthen investments in community violence intervention programs.

‘2021 was yet another year of crisis for our country. Too many communities had to reckon with the trauma and pain of surging gun violence, armed hate, and racial discrimination—all in the midst of the ongoing pandemic,’ said Robyn Thomas, executive director of Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. ‘What our Scorecard shows, year after year is that it is possible to take action to end this senseless violence. States with strong gun safety laws have fewer gun deaths—but illegal trafficking leaves residents of these states vulnerable. This progress must extend to every single state across the nation. We hope the Gun Law Scorecard will continue to serve as a resource for our elected officials who understand that getting a passing grade can be a matter of life and death.’

In 2020, over 45,000 people were killed by guns—a number of gun deaths not seen in decades. This sharp spike in gun deaths comes after several years of increasing gun deaths. The Annual Gun Law Scorecard highlights opportunities states have to reverse these devastating numbers. Strengthening background checks, implementing child access prevention laws, investing in community violence intervention programs, and passing extreme risk protection order laws are all policies that can reverse the growing gun death rate.


States with the strongest gun laws have continued taking significant steps to protect their residents from gun violence, including:

California (A): Enacted a law to improve efforts to identify gun dealers who engage in gun trafficking, committed $76 million for local community violence intervention and prevention programming, and made it easier for people who survive domestic abuse to obtain firearm-prohibiting protective orders.

New Jersey (A): Committed $10 million in funding for local community violence intervention and prevention programming.

New York (A-): Passed a first-of-its-kind law that allows people to sue gun dealers and manufacturers when they fail to act responsibly and created a state firearm violence research institute.

Maryland (A-): Enacted a law requiring background checks on long gun purchases and committed significant funding for local community violence intervention and prevention programing.

States with the lowest grades are most responsible for the troubling export of guns used for crimes in other states. These states also put their residents at risk by pushing dangerous policies like “Stand Your Ground,” which allows people to shoot first and ask questions later, and permitless carry, which allows untrained, unvetted people to carry hidden, loaded guns in public. Some of the worst legislation passed in the last year includes:

Iowa (F): Repealed its law requiring background checks on private sales of firearms and allowed people to carry concealed guns in public without safety training or a background check.

Missouri (F): Made law enforcement officers and agencies, public officials, and private individuals personally liable in civil court and subject to a $50,000 fine for enforcing federal gun laws.

Montana (F): Passed a law allowing guns on the campuses of colleges and universities that was later declared unconstitutional.

Visit the Annual Gun Law Scorecard at gunlawscorecard.org

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Soulflower Plant Spirit Oracle

Today we have a truly special oracle deck to discuss, the “Soulflower Plant Spirit Oracle” by Lisa Estabrook. In the oracle’s accompanying guide book Estabrook says, “The ‘Soulflower Plant Spirit Oracle’ is a very simple daily self-care, self-empowerment tool that will help support your own spiritual journey and reawaken or strengthen your connection to the earth that supports us all.” Pretty big ask from a “very simple” tool.

I’m happy to say that Estabrook’s oracle does an amazing job creating this tool. The “Soulflower Plant Spirit Oracle” is a 44-card featuring Estabrook’s own, beautiful art. Each card has its own information on it. That said, it comes with a 173-page guidebook that explains the deck’s origin and quite poetically take you through some exercises and discussion of plant spirits. Estabrook suggests a single card draw a day as one of the best ways to use the deck and I absolutely agree. I’m quite the fan of the single card draw for most decks and readings.

With its ties to the earth, desire to prompt self-exploration, and of course, lovely art, Lisa Estabrook’s “Soulflower Plant Spirit Oracle” is a must own for those looking pursue those interests.

You can learn more here.

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Witch, Please

When I agreed to review “Witch, Please: Empowerment and Enlightenment for the Modern Mystic” by Victoria Maxwell I was expecting a blunt, slightly crass, book of advice. And to me, that isn’t a bad thing. However, Maxwell isn’t the sassy straight-talker I was expecting. Instead, she’s you’re supportive, spiritual seeker sister. And that, is always nice.

Not to make this weird, but Maxwell is definitely a spiritual sister of The Magical Buffet. In her introduction Maxwell states, “I’ve always been a big believer in the ‘take what resonates and leave the rest approach’.” Old school Magical Buffet readers may recognize that as a more eloquent version of my original website’s theme, “Take what you want and leave the rest.” So obviously by page 5 I was sold on this book.

With that said, what are you interested in? “Witch, Please” gives you a veritable plethora of options to explore: relationship magic, meditation, cleansing, money magic, working with energies, creating a grimoire/journal, warding, tarot cards, and much more. Everything is presented clearly, with enough information to get you started and find if it’s something you wish to pursue.

People who have an established spiritual and/or magical practice may want to pass on “Witch, Please.” On the other hand, if you’re like me and always looking for new magical bits to add to your daily life, Victoria Maxwell wrote a great place to start.

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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Psychics and Love

Okay, for Valentine’s Day I decided to share another not entirely scientific, but fun, survey. This time, the folks at PsychicReading.com “conducted an online survey between January 25 and January 26, 2022. In total, 1,000 participants in the U.S. were surveyed. All participants had to pass through screening questions to ensure they had received a psychic reading. The majority of questions were subsequently answered by 600 respondents identifying as single, defined here as not currently in a committed relationship.”

What did this survey show? “Survey respondents who went to see a psychic within the past month may have V-Day on the brain. When asked what their number one goal was for this year, the largest group of respondents (27%) said that it was finding a romantic partner. However, the larger population of psychic-goers is more focused on practical matters, with finding a romantic partner ranking third on their list of priorities for 2022. Improving their finances and physical/mental health were the top answers for all survey respondents respectively.”

This shouldn’t come as surprise to anyone who has talked to psychics. Relationships, money, and health are pretty much the big topics clients want to discuss. Still, interesting to see.

I was concerned to read that, “Of the survey respondents who have spent $800 or more on psychic readings, learning about their romantic future is their first priority.” Was this $800 in just the month of January? Yes, psychics should be paid for their time but you should NEVER, EVER, pay more than you can afford and $800 is steep. Just saying.

I feel like that takeaway here is that if you’re going to a psychic to learn about your love life, you’re not alone. And apparently 29% of these survey takers are finding true love in 2022. Maybe you’re one of them?

You can find the full study here.

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Divination

There are loads of different ways to practice divination. I should know, I profiled several for my Patrons on Patreon. (shameless plug for my Patreon) However, for evidence to this fact you need to look no further than “In Focus: Divination: Your Personal Guide” by Steven Bright. Bright is a full-time tarot reader that has created a tarot deck, oracle deck, and a kipper deck. He’s written a book about tarot and one about deck design. I’m not saying Bright is the only person who could write this type of book, but he’s certainly more than qualified.

This book, “Divination: Your Personal Guide,” offers an amazing variety of information about styles of divination: Lenormand cards, Kipper cards, playing cards, Elder Futhark Runes, Witches’ Runes, casting charms, diving with crystals, reading colors, reading buttons, reading tea leaves, reading flowers, reading shells, the I Ching, and dice divination. Several of these I hadn’t even considered as divination methods! And Bright does an excellent job of providing enough information that you can start experimenting with the types of divinations outlined in the book immediately. “Divination” is helpfully illustrated and includes an instructional poster.

“Divination: Your Personal Guide” by Steven Bright is a wellspring of inspiration for anyone interested in divination.

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