NEW JACK WITCH: 4 MAGIC WORKOUTS FOR FALL

Lost both your mystical practice and your fitness routine in a sea of BBQs and long-weekends away? In the inaugural installment of his Fitness Witch column, Russ Marshalek shares 4 on-the-go magic workouts for fall, that will fast track you back towards body alchemy.

Image: “Sigil for Strong Bones” by Jon Iñaki

:: A Life on the Road: Taco Bell & Alchemy :: 
After having steeped myself in my practice to cope with a remarkably terrible 2016, full of betrayals and trauma, magic had become literally just one more thing to cross off on a daily list of to-dos. Not coincidentally, I’d also had a falling off in my personal fitness practice.

As I embarked on a two-week tour this summer with my band, a place both wonderful and strangeI realized I’d come to an impasse in my personal practice as a self-trained fitness witch.

As we set out, I had fully resigned myself to embracing a traditional “dude on the road with his band” approach to physical and spiritual wellness: Taco Bell, drinking heavily, occasional substance consumption, Applebees, gas station fountain drinks, sleeping in every morning until the last possible second.

At the last minute, I threw a kettlebell and a shitty yoga mat in the trunk as an attempt to appease my own ever-dwindling sense of self-care. This worked out fairly well for me for a few days, and I blocked out the existence of my body while subsisting solely on bottles of Chardonnay and vegan-friendly trash food (and some pretty trashy non-vegan, food too).

Then, one morning I woke up sobbing and in that hilarious and terrifying way people discuss Ayahuasca trips, I had a 6-hour chat with myself in the back seat of the car and came to a few fundamental truths:

That I simply wasn’t drinking enough water. That performing every night both deserved and required a spiritual and physical groundedness and presence that I had been outright ignoring. And that I was a fucking lucky duck; I had the opportunity to travel for work and get paid for creating art, every night, with two of my best friends.

In short, I owed it to everyone involved, myself included, to actually show up for it.

From that day forward, I was never without a bottle of water, I started performing simple offerings to local spirits in each town we visited, and I developed a simple on-the-road exercise routine coupled with daily rituals.

Within two days of kicking my own ass into realizing that my body was unwell because my spirit was unwell, and vice versa, I was happier, more energized, and the shows that ended the tour were the best we’d ever done.

It took me being hundreds of miles away from home for me to be reminded that the true meaning of “self-care” isn’t “tuck inside a brownie and a blanket” but rather “make sure you’re as well as you can be in body and spirit.” And the true meaning of “giving a good performance” is basically the same.

Whether you’re literally on-the-go, or just feeling far from home, here are 4 magic workouts for fall to up your mystical body mojo …

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1/ Get Out 
Regardless of where you are and what the situation is, there’s comfort and solace to be found in exploring local nature. It’s where we came from, and it’s where we are going. 

Fitness: Get up as early as makes sense, lace up your sneakers, find a park or path, and go for a 20 minute jog or brisk walk. Recognize and acknowledge the foliage, the rocks, the ways in which nature finds a way.

Magic: On your journey into nature, find a patch of green that’s particularly appealing to you, and make an offering to local spirits. Alternate between drinking water from your water bottle, ideally filled with water from a local source, and pouring it on the ground as you recite the following:

Spirits of this place in which I dwell/Please accept this offering/May it multiply to the 10 directions and take the form that is most pleasing to you/Take your fill and maintain peace between me and thee/So shall it be
*Drafted by Vanessa Irena and inspired by the writings of Jason Miller

Feel at peace in your surroundings.

Music: a place both wonderful and strange, “W*tch

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2// Peace In Discomfort 
The assimilation/accommodation process is an incredibly valuable and powerful one when in any type of new environment, and particularly so when you’re away from your literal home or just out of your comfort zone. Learn how to be at peace with the discomfort of the unfamiliar. 

Fitness: This is a modified version of a routine I developed myself for use on the road, and requires nothing more than a yoga mat and a kettle bell.

Experiment with using just a little more weight than you’re comfortable with (safely of course). If you don’t have a kettle bell, find a heavy thing–other free weights/hand weights, phone books, flanks of meat, a cat. If you don’t have a yoga mat, just make sure the surface you’re on is soft enough to not destroy your knees and tailbone. Grass is a wonderful substitute.

20 kettle bell squats/20 kettle bell swings/20 Russian twists/Plank for 30 seconds/Repeat 3x. **If this is too easy and you want to really shake yourself up, feel free to add more reps or sets. I do 5 sets of 30, with a 90 second plank in each. 

Magic: A simple mind-clearing ritual to help achieve calmness and clarity. It’s best to perform this at an open window or outside. Light a yellow candle, face towards the open window, close your eyes, and recite:

I call upon the power of Air/To clear the mind of confusion/To focus my thinking/And blow away the clutter/That keeps me from making good choices/Blow in the winds of clarity/And help me to think rationally and clearly/So Mote It Be  *Adapted from Witches of the Craft

Imagine any internal strife quieting. Take three slow, deep breaths. Open your eyes. Leave the yellow candle burning as long as possible.

Music: Zola Jesus, “Avalanche (slow)

Russ on the road with his band

3// Mother Night
We owe a debt of gratitude to the Moon and as such, it’s only fitting that we get outside and both observe and pay tribute to her.

Fitness: Under the cover of night, find a space that’s safe, that’s just yours, and take your clothes off. The freeing feeling of being naked, at night, and sweating, is an unbelievable, freeing high like no other. Do any routine that feels good and challenging to you. If you’re stumped, repeat the routine from #1, noticing how different your body feels.

Magic: Ideally, you’d be performing this simple blessing honoring the Moon after having just completed the workout above, and would still be nude. Sit crosslegged, with your palms resting on your knees facing up, in view of the Moon. Take a moment to ponder it in whatever form it’s presenting on this night. Unlike most rituals, don’t close your eyes–continue staring at the Moon, and allow its magic to dance in your mind. Repeat the following:

Mother Moon/I am restored by you/I am divinely protected by you/Help me feel your strength/Help me feel your power

Music: knifesex, “Mother

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4// Sleep Well, Beast
When in unfamiliar or uncomfortable territory, our inner life can turn to a raging beast that causes us to sacrifice our own sense of well-being. For many, myself included, the first thing that that gets thrown out the window is a good night’s sleep. When I don’t sleep well, I have maybe about a day’s reserve of top-level adult functionality before I begin to get angry, withdrawn, and paranoid. In those situations, sleep is quite literally the only cure. 

Fitness: There’s literally nothing like bedtime yoga to help with sleep. This Popsugar routine helped me find a good night’s sleep on the road.

Magic: Sit crosslegged in a quiet, dark, cool spot. Close your eyes. Feel your breathing as you breathe deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth. Become aware of your breath and your body.

Inhale through the nose for a count of six/Hold for 3 seconds/Exhale through the nose for a count of six/Hold again for 3 seconds/Repeat this series four more times.

Imagine your body as a slowly glowing, calming blue light, originating at your heart and slowly spreading to the rest of your body. Feel gratitude for yourself, your body, and your accomplishments of the day.

Music: Sky Ferreira, “Night Time is My Time (a place both wonderful and strange remix)

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Russ Marshalek is the founder of the occult electronic music project a place both wonderful and strange, a personal trainer, and the co-founder of the witchcraft collective New Jack Witch.

NUMINOUS TAROTSCOPE AUGUST 31: ACE OF SWORDS

As we stand on the edge of a new seasonal cycle, the Ace of Swords wants us to get ready for the lightening bolt and act on creative inspiration, says Lindsay Mack. 

A TAROT PRACTICE TO HELP YOU NAVIGATE SEPTEMBER 2017

As we slip into the subtle fall energies of Virgo Season, it’s time to assess our relationship to the earth element and to our core beliefs, says Melinda Lee Holm. Let a tarot practice steer your ship as you navigate September 2017.

A shift in seasons brings profound change this month, as we celebrate personal and community connections, mirror the balance of the cosmos in our earthbound lives, and call in a strong challenge to our beliefs about what is true and eternal.

Let your deck lead the way into fall … 

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:: 9/4 Labor Day- 10 of Pentacles :: 

While many of us associate this day with one last beach weekend, it was created to honor the courageous men and women who organized labor. We owe our weekends, 8-hour work days, overtime laws, and restrictions on work done by children all to the Labor movement and its belief that a healthy and happy workforce is the cornerstone of a properous community.

The Tarot teaches us that the greatest form of earthly abundance is found not in a single wealthy figure, but in a wealthy society. The 10 of Pentacles represents the highest material aspirations of the minor arcana. We see a thriving community represented in three generations of citizens and two white dogs in a well-groomed city.

Only through valuing every member’s role and contribution can the health and wellbeing of all be maintained.

Calling in the 10 of Pentacles: 

  • Eat maple syrup on pancakes, yogurt, or oatmeal – energetically it promotes wealth and longevity
  • Throw a block party or BBQ to connect with your neighbors and community
  • Shop local
  • Give Malachite as a gift – it’s a powerful stone of prosperity

:: 9/10 World Suicide Prevention Day- The Ace of Cups :: 

The world can be a very tough place for many people, unbearably so for some. Today we actively send our love and compassion to those who are struggling and those who have been affected by suicide.

The Ace of Cups is the primal power of Water, the element of emotion. Love is the root of our human experience of emotion, and the centerpiece of the Divine gift of an emotional body. The Aces all represent the pure unadulterated state of their element, the most exalted sense of what they represent.

What could possibly be more exalted in the emotional realm than pure unconditional love for our fellow humans?

Calling in the Ace of Cups:

  • Wear or carry a Rhodonite, the stone of outward-directed love and compassion
  • Drink Rose tea to open and expand the heart
  • Donate gently used clothing to a shelter – or better yet, sign up to volunteer!
  • Check in with those you love and let them know you care

:: 9/22 Autumnal Equinox, Sun Enters Libra- Justice :: 

As the days and nights equalize in length before the night begins to take over, this cosmic event triggers a shift from the productivity of summer to the harvest of fall, in preparation for the winter.

Justice teaches us that just as truth, fairness, and order, in society and law, require careful weighing of information, achieving fairness and order in the Universe requires a constant careful balancing of energies. To enjoy the long days of summer, we must survive the long nights of winter. To have stamina to be active, we must set aside time for rest.

Calling in Justice: 

  • Carry Tiger Eye to promote energetic balance
  • Eat salty/sweet food combinations like prosciutto wrapped melon or potato chips and ice cream
  • Wear mixed metals – Wearing both the silver of the moon and gold of the sun connects us to the balance of the celestial bodies that influence us most
  • Donate to the ACLU
Melinda Lee Holm’s Sigil Collection Suspended Pendant in gold, Ancient Echoes Ring, and Reversible Diamond Band in silver

:: 9/28 Jupiter Opposition Uranus- The Tower :: 

Jupiter opposition Uranus happens only once every 12 years and comes in pairs or trios due to apparent retrograde planetary motion. This is the second opposition in our series of two for 2016/17.

Expansive Jupiter in this aspect to rebellious Uranus brings periods of great change on an individual level, sometimes in sudden and uncomfortable ways. But this does not have to be a traumatic time. If we open ourselves up to radical change, we can make the most of this transit.

The Tower is generally seen as one of the most frightening cards in the deck – visually and energetically. It represents major change and teaches us to let go of ALL preconceived notions of the true nature and identity of ourselves and the world around us.

While it may be hard to see in the moment, these changes will always be in service of our highest good. We don’t usually think of The Tower as something we seek to call in intentionally, but with this transit, it is best to get ahead of the game and go with the flow of this potentially challenging aspect.

Calling in The Tower: 

  • Drink coffee – coffee beans are used in spellwork to clear negative thinking and assist in breaking through internal barriers
  • Carry or wear Herkimer Diamond to connect to Divine wisdom and strength
  • Clean your space with pine-scented cleanser, or bring pine branches into your home to promote a clean break from past beliefs and a strong fresh start
  • Burn a black candle – black candles are very effective for clearing energetic blockages and can be a huge help in loosening your attachment to any of your own personal Towers that are ready to come down
Melinda Lee Holm’s Initiate Necklace in Herkimer Diamond Quartz on gold

 

Want more tarot magic? Book a session with Melinda here, and make sure to follow her on Instagram and Facebook.