MY MYSTICAL LIFE: HOW TO BE A MODERN WITCH

With her new book Craft: How To Be A Modern Witch, Gabriela Herstik—one of our first ever Numinous contributors!—says it’s witches who really run the world …

Four year ago I got an email from a student at the University of South Carolina. “Let’s just say Columbia isn’t necessarily forgiving of those who chose to dress how they want and stand out,” she wrote. “My all black attire, bright red lipstick and half shaved head make me the recipient of many side eyes, but my own personal style has never faltered or strayed.” Her name was Gabriela Herstik, and she pitched a story for the Numinous on dressing to honor the Death Card in the tarot. And in doing so, became one of my first ever contributors to the site!

Gaby continued to write for me over the years, going on to become an official intern and one of our Moon Club Founding members. It’s been AMAZING to watch her career grow and blossom, as she graduated college, went to intern at Vivienne Westwood, and got her writing published everywhere from i-D to Broadly. She landed a column at Nylon called “Ask A Witch.” And when she told me this time last year that she’s been asked to write a book about modern witchcraft, it was as if the cosmos had fully aligned!

Gaby’s book, Craft: How to Be A Modern Witch, is out today. And her take on what makes a witch—”The witch is anyone who does things differently, by her own rules, attuned to her own self and magick”—reminds me of a line from her first email to me. “I’ve had to grow a tough skin to stay true to myself in parts of the south that don’t understand what it means to be different,” she wrote.

How to have a tough skin (boundaries, people) while keeping your heart wide open is one of the messages in her book. Here’s what else she told me about the witches who really rule the world, and how she’s honoring the lineage of witches who came before us …

>>>

RUBY WARRINGTON: In the intro, you say it’s witches who really run the world. Who are some of your favorite inspirational witches, and why? 
GABRIELA HERSTIK: We do run the world! An empowered woman who knows her own magick has always been a threat to the patriarchy and I stand by that! There are so many amazing witches out there. I think the first time I was truly introduced to powerful witches were in Harry Potter. Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood, Professor Trelawney, Professor Mcgonagall—they all inspired my magick.

So did Oprah. I’ve been following her and her “super soul Sunday” show for years with my mom, and her insight, wisdom and power have been inspiring me for over a decade. Sybil Leek And Doreen Valiente are both historic witches who have inspired my own practice as well, reminding me that my strength and power and witchiness are forces to be reckoned with and that using my writing is a valid way of spreading my magick. Yoko Ono, one of my favorite fellow Aquarians, has also inspired me to be revolutionary without shame, showing that love and peace should always be fought for with an open heart and compassionate mind.

Starhawk is a JeWitch who has helped me embrace my own inner priestess, and has helped me deepen my craft and practice—she’s amazing! Goddesses and figures like Hecate and Lilith have reminded me of my own darkness as a gift, and that my non-conforming nature is something to be celebrate, curated and cultivated more than it needs to be shamed!

RW: In your book, you identify “the one without children” as one possible marker of a witch. This is me Gaby! Does the fact I never wanted to have kids show I’ve always been a witch? 
GH: YES! A witch has always been someone who doesn’t abide by society’s (or in many cases the church’s) rules! You taking control over your own body and future by not having kids, (even though society tells us that we must follow the path of having a job, a spouse and children to be valid) means that you are claiming sovereignty over your future and self. You’re going against the grain and honoring your own needs, feelings and emotions, which in my opinion is the basis of magick!

A witch is empowered, not by an outside force, but by herself. And in a society that tells us we must conform to be worthy, doing what you want for yourself and your own sake isn’t only the witch’s calling, but it’s also revolutionary.

RW: Why is cultivating a Moon practice—like we do in Moon Club—the first step towards activating your inner witch?
GH: Many of us naturally are enamored with the moon. She been there for as long as the earth (4.53 BILLION YEARS) which means that we are looking at the same moon that generations and generations of ancient (and modern) people have. The moon represents and rules over our emotional bodies, our intuition, our connection to the feminine; the subtle, all knowing, feeling part of ourselves that’s in everyone, regardless of gender. No matter where we live, we can look up and see the moon.

It doesn’t cost anything and it doesn’t matter what religion or spiritual path you follow—the moon is there, and she cycles through her 28 days all the same. Cultivating a moon based practice is an easy way to get in touch with the subtle aspects of our soul, and an even easier way to chart our own growth alongside that of the moon. Starting at the new moon, the beginning of the moon’s cycles, we focus on what we want to grow as the moon’s light grows or waxes, up until the full moon.

The Full Moon is a time of completion and manifestation, and after that when she starts to lose light or wane, we focus on what we want to release. This is such an easy way to start learning about your own cycles and energies, and for those of us who bleed, the moon also imitates our own cycles. The moon is just the most inspiring, beautiful, magical being. I love her and I don’t think I know a witch who doesn’t!

>>>

RW: What was the most important step in you “coming out”and standing proud in your witchiness?
GH: Believing in my witchiness and my power! As far as physical moments, shaving off half my hair seven years ago is what I credit as my initiation as a fashion witch. It’s the first time I used the power of glamour and rebellion to transform my style and it’s what really launched my exploration of personal style.

In a broader sense, writing this book has been the biggest step in coming into my power as a witch. At the end of 2016 I decided I was going to write about witchcraft less, but the universe had other plans for me! I’ve had many incarnations as a witch (the old saying “once a witch, always a witch” rings true) and a lot of them have not ended well. Not only am I breaking this karma by embracing the title of “witch” and helping other people find their magick, but I’m also transforming the karma of my ancestry in this life.

I grew up Jewish and am ethnically Jewish as well. I had over 70 members of my family in concentration camps, including my paternal grandparents. The fact I can openly talk about being a witch, the fact that I have made a career out of sharing this practice and belief system, when my family members were killed and abused for their religious beliefs, is not lost on me. Coming out as a witch in the public eye, has been a lot of things but the most important thing is that that I’ve learned is that this is who I am. This is where my power lies. This is my path and my magick and embracing it, sharing it with others and spreading wisdom is why I’m here!

RW: What’s the last spell you cast and what was the result?
GH: The last spell I cast was at the New Moon for presence, gratitude, sex, abundance, magick and love—it’s still going (I’ve burned the candle every day since the last New Moon) but I’ve definitely been more in tune with all of those things. I did a spell last night using my rose quartz chakrub and sex magick to remove some blocks I have around my heart as “protection” and the result was some really intense, scary dreams that brought to surface some of my fears and a really intense feeling of centered peace this morning.

RW: What’s your favorite way to honor the lineage of the witches that came before us?
GH: I love this question! My favorite way to honor them is to honor my own ancestry through working with fashion magick, since both sides of my family are weavers, seamstresses and in the garment industry. As far as the witches who came before me, being vocal about how lucky we are to live in a place and time where we can openly call ourselves witches and practice witchcraft is a huge part of my practice.

My work and passion is sharing information about connecting with witchcraft and magick and goddess. This work, including my blogs and columns and articles and my book, are all dedicated to the witches who have come before me. The legacy of the witch lives on in many ways, and she absolutely lives on in me. By shedding light on witchcraft, by making it accessible, by holding space in my heart for those whose shoulders I stand on, I honor this lineage of witches.

>>>

Craft: How to Be A Modern Witch by Gabriela Herstik is out March 15 on Penguin Random House. 

THE RICH WITCH: 3 PROSPERITY RITUALS FOR THE FALL EQUINOX

The Autumn Equinox is high time to fête your successes and show gratitude for everything that’s come to fruition. Rich Witch Lara-Rose Duong gives us 3 prosperity rituals to power up for the harvest and keep the money honey reigning down …

As a Rich Witch, celebration is one of your secret tools to keep prosperity flowing into your life. When you praise a chef, she knows to keep making that dish. When you celebrate your successes, the powers that may be keep sending more, too.

For the witches in the house, the Autumn Equinox (aka Mabon) is like our Thanksgiving! It’s time to reap what we’ve sown and show gratitude.

As light and dark show up equally, we can see where we’ve been in imbalance, shed what no longer serves, and celebrate life as it is. 

Your harvest can be the bounty from your garden or any kind of success in your life. Regardless, take stock of what has come to fruition for you and honor it.

Throw your success a private party with these 3 prosperity rituals for the Fall Equinox … 

>>>

1// Feast like a Goddess: Give into the bounty of the season by gathering your friends and family to feast at a harvest altar. Fill your table with your creativity and heart, and let it be a feast for the eyes and spirit. Whatever you choose to include, keep in mind that the most important element is your gratitude!

  • Hot apple cider with cinnamon. Apples are the bounty of the season and cinnamon adds warmth and prosperity to your feast.
  • Local fruits and vegetables. It’s important that your feasts reflects the land you are from. In general, gourds and squash are plentiful right now.
  • Set your the centre piece up as an altar to your ancestors, the land, and the goddess. Be inspired by Mother Nature and what is available to your in the woods. Let it be rich and full (think pinecones, gourds, a cornucopia, carnelian & rose quartz, gold decor).

>>>

2// Get Your Hands Dirty: Plant the seeds of your dreams that will come to life next year.

  • Pick your favourite bulb flowers/plants.
  • Go outside to the place where you will plant (a patch of earth or in a container). Select a spot that inspires your Rich Witch heart. Mark the area with friendly statues and elements.
  • Massage the soil with your hands while seeing all that you hope to manifest. In the soil, bury a crystal of abundance like citrine or pyrite.
  • Take one bulb into your hands and infuse it with a dream to come. Do this with each bulb for each intention you are calling in. Once you feel like each bulb is charged up, plant them.
  • Gently water the soil with water that you’ve charged on your main altar overnight.
  • Above the bulbs, mark the earth with a prosperity sigil. Use the symbol below as a guide.

>>>

3// Turn Your Body Into an Abundance Altar: You are a sacred container where prosperity lives. Here are some Rich Witch tips to charge up the vibrant, sacred altar that is you:

  • Adorn your body with talismans (see my jewelry charging ritual for “The Rich Fashion Witch”)
  • Charge your body up by marking it with the prosperity sigil in  lotion/coconut oil.
  • Drink “Rich Witch Water” daily: Take the prosperity sigil and place it beneath a jar of water. Surround the jar with carnelian, pyrite, and citrine. Leave the water there to charge overnight on your altar. Start each day off by thanking the Goddess for blessing your life and taking in the water.
  • Get your energetic Rich Witch dress on everyday: As you put your left shoe on, say: “I am safe to be seen now.” As you put your right shoe on, say: “I am safe to be heard now.” Stretch all the way up and reach for the ceiling with your arms wide. Ground your feet and say three times: “I call my power back to me” Tap the crown of your head while saying three times: “I have the right to be here.” Leave the house feeling divine!

Join the conversation with Lara-Rose Duong in the Rich Witch Circle on Facebook and share what you decided to do for this Mabon. And connect with her on Instagram  to see these Rich Witch Mabon practices in action.

THE RICH WITCH: 6 WAYS TO GET WHAT YOU REALLY WANT

How to find out what we truly desire, and what we think we should be going after? Rich Witch Lara-Rose Duong has 6 ways to get what you really want right NOW …

 

What do you truly want? What gets that fire in your belly roaring? What gets your heart thumping?

With Uranus in retrograde and the Lion’s Gate Portal open, we are being called to go deeper within and return to our truest “I AM” so that our more prosperous selves can shine.

A Rich Witch is prosperous when she lives out her truest “I AM” desires. But how to find out what we truly want? Hint: it may or may not be a f*cking Porsche.

When we move in sync with our desires, we are full of hope and vigor. We are alive. But temptation from the outside world can leave us feeling like we’ll never be enough until we have all of the toys with all the bells and whistles—whether it’s the latest iPhone, next season’s McQueen, or equating your value with numbers in the back on or social media.

As a Rich Witch, the quality of your life is measured by your own heart—and success is defined on your terms. Maybe you really do want a Porsche. Maybe you truly do want a closet full of McQueen and Louboutins. Or maybe you don’t want those things at all.

The beauty of living for your truest desires is that YOU get to decide what makes your life rich, full, and prosperous. It’s time to quit keeping up with the Joneses life and embrace your unique path as a Rich Witch.

Follow these simple steps to jump start your truest “I AM” desires and get what you really want RIGHT NOW! 

>>>

1// Only say “YES” to what sets your soul on fire. If you’ve been giving your energy to people, events, and projects out of obligation, you’ve been voting “YES” for more of that to come your way. If you don’t get that instant “OH, YEAH!!” feeling, turn it down. It’s time to start voting for what you really want to grow in your life. It’s these little tweaks that spark huge change. For example, if you’re a creative soul, start saying “YES” to date nights that spark your creativity—rather than hitting the club, head to a paint + wine night. This will nurture your ability to listen to your TRUE desires, give them space to breathe, and spark huge change.

>>>

2// Block time off for pure joy. Get as good at booking time in your weekly schedule for as much FUN as obligatory “must dos.” You don’t have to know what you’re going to do with that time, but show up with an open mind and follow your impulse. You may have the urge to move it to accommodate another meeting. DON’T. Honor your fun time the same way you’d honor another commitment. You can start off with 1 hr a week and work your way up to a whole afternoon. Pretty soon, you’ll be so excited that you’ll know exactly how you want to use that time.

>>>

3// Rev up your manifesting mojo with a prosperity altar. Build a dedicated sacred space for your inner desires to come to life in the auspicious SE corner of your chosen room (ideally an office or living space rather than a bedroom or bathroom). Let it be as simple or extravagant as you desire. Add items that symbolize the elements. Use your imagination!

The basics of a prosperity altar include:
—An abundance crystal like citrine or pyrite. 
—A “Magnetic Money Honey Jar.” Add a few select items that make you feel rich to an empty mason jar—like something made of gold. Adding cinnamon to this jar amps its potency. Activating it with the crystal magnetite will help you manifest your intentions.
—The Goddess Lakshmi or your chosen abundance deity. You can also add Ganesha to help you remove any obstacles from your prosperity path.
A Money Tree Plant that you can watch grow like your prosperity.

Call your inner desires into your life by writing them on notes to place in your Money Honey Jar or at Lakshmi’s feet, and remember to refresh and tend to your altar regularly to keep the energy flowing.

>>>

4// Vote with your money, honey. Where you put your money honey is a “vote” that you want more of that in your life. Take some time to see how you’re voting with your Queen Cash. Are there regular expenses that you really don’t desire or require? Example: if you love to sweat it up through dancing, shift your monthly gym membership to the hottest dance studio in town.

PS: Make the payments feel extra juicy by placing your money on your prosperity altar at Lakshmi’s feet first.

>>>

5// Remember what you wanted as a kid. Not the same as the “What do you want to be when you grow up?” question. The focus is here is to remember what you valued when you were growing up. When you were a child, your main currency to give was your time and your presence. You would play with your whole heart. Laugh with your whole body. Take some time now to remember what experiences made you feel totally present in the moment—the moments where you didn’t want to be anywhere else in the world. This is your new barometer for what to say “YES” to in life.

>>>

6// And FINALLY … Don’t wait another second to start living your “I AM” desires. When you close your eyes and imagine your most prosperous life, how do you feel in that life? Let those feelings be your compass as you start taking action right now. This could mean anything from giving yourself permission to take more naps, to riding rollercoasters more often or wearing a daring shade of lipstick. This is the fastest way to make your life feel full and prosperous, RIGHT NOW.

Join the conversation with Lara-Rose Duong in the Rich Witch Circle on Facebook and follow her on Instagram

WHAT’S YOUR “RICH WITCH” TYPE?

Summer is a super ripe moment for juicy manifestations. In her inaugural Rich Witch monthly column, Lara-Rose Duong teaches you how to discover your Rich Witch type … and get that money mojo moving!

You see an activated woman who lives a prosperous life by her own standards. She’s a magnetic beauty that has her inner frequency tuned to Rich Witch FM.

With total confidence, she calls all that her heart desires into her life while praying with her feet. Her relationship with money honey is one that brings value to both her life and those around her.

She’s a radiant Phoenix who gives into the cycles of life—knowing when to let herself fully die to come back in a new form. She is your cheerleader. She is your supporter.

She’s all these things and more, and she lives deep within the big fire in your soul.

Her mantra: “Love Is Money.”

>>>

 

Doesn’t sound like you? Don’t fret if life isn’t checking all your Rich Witch boxes … yet. It’s never too late to dive into the abundance party!

For some, luxury may look like partying on a sailboat in the Caribbean, while for others it may look like tending plants in your magnificent backyard. So when discovering your Rich Witch type, first carve out some sacred time for yourself to listen in to what makes your heart feel wealthy.

No matter what kind of Rich Witch you want to embody this summer, you can start activating abundance right now with these simple, potent rituals. The most important element is to remain in a state of magical receiving. Let yourself mix, match, and be eclectic about your process.

Okay, now let’s get that Rich Witch mojo moving!

>>>

:: THE RICH SEA WITCH ::

How to Spot Her:
She lives by the sea in real life or in spirit. She may think of herself as a mermaid. She loves being at the beach and in the sun. She draws on the energy of water to power up her own magick.

How to Call Her In:

  • Pour yourself a large glass of water and place it on your altar. With a clear vision of what you want to call in, place your hands around the jar and let yourself really go deep into a daydream state where you live your summer of abundance. Feel everything that is going to happen like it’s happening right now.
  • Once you feel completely charged up, say out loud or in your mind with total excitement and authority: I am a Rich Sea Witch. With this water, I am calling in my Summer of Abundance. With my own energy, I am calling in my Summer of Abundance. With all of me, I receive my Summer of Abundance. So mote it be.” And then, drink the sacred water that you created.
  • Moving forward, every time you interact with water, say out loud or in your mind: “Thank you for this Summer of Abundance.” A great time to do this would be in the bath, in the shower, or when you dive into the sea as part of your daily summer ritual. You will literally bathe yourself in your own magick.
Rich Sea Witch // Photo: Jordan Sanchez

>>>

:: THE RICH URBAN WITCH ::

How to Spot Her:
She rides the subway, the train, and elevators throughout her day. She thrives on city lights and that frenetic buzz in the air.

How to Call Her In:

  • Make an on-the-go abundance altar in your wallet. The key is to charge up the offering you place in your wallet with your current intention. If you take a twenty-dollar bill, for example, call in your vision of what your summer of abundance looks and feels like as you hold the bill in your hands so that your energy charges up the money.
  • Once you have the bill charged up with your energy, say out loud with intention and focus: I am a Rich Urban Witch. With this money, I am calling in my Summer of Abundance. With my own energy, I am calling in my Summer of Abundance. With all of me, I receive my Summer of Abundance. So mote it be.” Don’t actually spend that bill until the spell has been completed and totally manifested.
  • Every time you step on an elevator or walk up some stairs, you can say in your mind with total authority and excitement: “I am rising. I am climbing. I am prosperous. I am abundant. I am a Rich Witch.” As you speak those words, know that your life as a whole is elevating with your intentions.
Rich Urban Witch  // Photo: Hernan Sanchez

>>>

:: THE RICH GREEN WITCH ::

How to Spot Her:
She communes with nature. She has plants a-plenty in her home. You can often find her in her garden. She always has an herbal remedy suggestion up her sleeve for your ailments.

How to Call Her In:

  • Grow a plant either indoors or outdoors. A perfect choice is a Money Tree, placed in the Southeast corner (the wealth corner) of your living room or office. For outdoors, cooking herbs can be particularly potent because you are receiving double magick as you take the energy into your body!
  • To activate your plant, first bring your energy and vision in alignment with your idea of an abundant summer. Then begin to repot the plant into a beautiful container.
  • Once you have finished repotting the plant, say out loud with excitement and intention: “I am a Rich Green Witch. With this Money Tree, I am calling in my Summer of Abundance. With my own energy, I am calling in my Summer of Abundance. With all of me, I receive my Summer of Abundance. So mote it be.”
  • Every time you water that plant, you can nourish it with your love and remember that with its growth, your abundance grows.
Rich Green Witch //  Photo: Brennan Burling

>>>

:: THE RICH FASHION WITCH ::

How to Spot Her: She expresses herself through her adornments. She creates waves everywhere she goes with her statement pieces. This is not about being on trend. While she may have a keen sense of style, first and foremost she always dresses for herself and her energy.

How to Call Her In:

  • If you are a Rich Fashion Witch, you are creating magick every time you dress yourself. For your abundance activation, choose several pieces of jewelry that you know you will be working with this summer. Once you have them in front of you, give yourself space and time to really bring up your energy. See yourself being and doing all that you want to do this summer.
  • Once your energy is powered up and ready to burst, hover your hands over your chosen pieces, and say out loud: I am a Rich Fashion Witch. With these talismans, I am calling in my Summer of Abundance. With my own energy, I am calling in my Summer of Abundance. With all of me, I receive my Summer of Abundance. So mote it be.”
  • When you are not wearing the pieces, leave them on your altar or in a sacred space to honour the good juju that they now carry and to clear them of any negative energy they may have picked up throughout the day. This practice is especially potent on the Full Moon.
  • Every time you wear one of those pieces, you are sharing your magnetic energy with the world. Each time you choose to adorn your body with one of them, speak your personal mantra to feed the energy.
Rich Fashion Witch //  Photo: Brooke Cagle

>>>  

:: THE RICH SEX WITCH :: 

How to Spot Her:
She works with her sexual force to bring her intentions into the physical world. She embraces her sensuality. She embraces her body. She embraces her needs. She knows that her sexual energy is deeply potent.

How to Call Her In:

  • Choose whatever tools bring sensual pleasure into your world- anything from crystal sex wands to lovers. You may only need to bring yourself to the party. It’s up to you. As you build up the pleasure and the sexual energy in your body, have a clear vision of your summer of abundance. Get lost in the details. There is no rush.
  • As you begin to climax, you can scream this out loud or in your mind: I am a Rich Sex Witch. With my sexual force, I am calling in my Summer of Abundance. With my own energy, I am calling in my Summer of Abundance. With all of me, I receive my Summer of Abundance. So mote it be.  **Note: This is potent magick. To protect yourself and make sure that you safely call in exactly what you want and are open to upgrades that you didn’t know you needed, you can add in the line: “This is for my highest good and I welcome loving surprises.”
  • You can use whatever spell works for you. The important part is that when you climax, you let the spell shoot through you whole body and out into the Universe through the crown of your head.
  • Moving forward, to nourish and honour the work that you have done, allow yourself to move and speak with sensuality. Let yourself glow wherever you go. You might also hold a crystal in your hand during your ritual and then carry it in your bra or elsewhere on your person as a talisman of your spell.
Rich Sex Witch // Photo: Rosie Rees

>>>

Let yourself be excited for what is coming and let yourself be surprised by how it will look. Trust that it’s coming for you and celebrate when you experience moments of it, no matter how small, so that the Universe knows to send you more. May your summer be alive, abundant, and prosperous! 

I want to know what kind of Rich Witch you are and what magic you’re weaving this summer. Join me in the Rich Witch Circle on Facebook! 

START WORKING WITH YOUR SPIRIT ANIMALS TODAY

Whether it’s a beloved pet, a fluffy social media meme, or even a lowly housefly, animals are reaching out to you constantly to offer their assistance. Aria Mae shares how to work with your spirit animals and start receiving their medicine. Main Image: Mathilde Aubier

 

It’s the third raven you’ve seen this week. Or, your friend mentions otters just moments before you notice a billboard featuring their fuzzy faces …

Are these coincidences, or something more? Serendipitous events are actually the language of animal medicine. Animal totems can come to us in many ways—you simply need to open wide to receive the magic! It’s easy to forget that we, too, are part of the animal kingdom, and that out furry, scaly, and feathered friends are asking to communicate with us all the time!

If you have a specific animal that you feel wants to work with you, read more about how to work with your spirit animal here.

If you’re new to working with spirit animals, here are five ways to start working with their medicine right now  …

>>>

1/Pay attention
You could have an animal dream, vision, shamanic journey, or an encounter in nature … but there are also reminders for us in magazine ads and funny videos posted on Facebook. Yes—spirit animals are responding to technology by being present in virtual spaces!

Notice what element(s) the species is associated with, what the archetypal characteristics of this animal are, both in our culture and in other societies, and what kinds of messages you receive when you tune in to this species. 

When you track your spirit animals moments, you will see the patterns and signs of species reaching out to you.

>>>

2/Ask for Visions
Remember that you can ask your animal animals specific questions too. Seeking guidance for a big decision? Request their assistance!

While riding a bus on one of the most dangerous mountain passes in northern India, I asked my spirit animals for help. Immediately I had a funny vision—in my mind’s eye, I saw a tiger hopping around inside the bus, totally enjoying the harrowing adventure. It reminded me to let go in that moment and to enjoy the ride!

>>>

3/Build Uncommon Altars
There are so many species we don’t think of as “power” animals, and yet they contain huge medicine for our lives—think insects, worms, or other creepy-crawlies, predators we don’t romanticize, like hyenas, and birds we love to hate like starlings and vultures.

Pick something that really bothers you about these creatures, and ask: what are these spirit animals messages for me? Create an altar with images of them, a love poem, and something to represent their favorite foods as an offering.

As you pass your altar daily, feel gratitude for the role this animal plays in their ecosystem, and remember your own importance in nature, too. 

 

Image: Sean Gadoury

4/Cast Spells, in Love
Writing poems is a beautiful way to draw boundaries with spirit animals while also honoring them. I use this often for so-called “pests” like mosquitoes and ticks when I’m out in the woods. If you live near the ocean, you could do this for sharks or jellyfish …

For example: Ticks I love you/But I don’t need you/Find your food another way/Leave me in peace on this glorious day!

The trick is to hold the poem spell in love, not fear. Be grateful for your ability to enter the spirit animals’ homes, as you practice holding boundaries.

>>>

5/Own YOUR Animal Medicine
A beautiful thing about our relationship with other species is realizing we can give our own animal medicine back … We are spirit animals, too! 

What does your unique medicine look like? Do you want to donate your time to a farm sanctuary? Can you organize a fundraiser or give cash to a well-researched wildlife fund? Is it time to adopt a rabbit, rat, or donkey from a shelter?

>>>

And most importantly, have fun with it! Let yourself be in awe of the inchworm that somehow landed on your sandwich. Smile and wink at the ducks in the pond at the park. Surrender to the beauty of the housefly before you open the window to let it outside.

Keep this attitude of joy at the forefront of your journey with animal guides, and you will receive more than you imagined possible … 

Aria Mae is an Ancestral Healer, Priestess, and Spiritual Heart Surgeon. She creates heart-awakening medicinal experiences through her Magical Monday private retreats, three-month AWAKEN program, and group gatherings. Using a medley of family constellation therapy, shadow work, sociology, animal communication, tantra, mindfulness and love, Aria helps others mend what may have been deemed “broken” by life’s trials – forever activating the vibrancy of their heart’s intuitive abilities. 

CASTING MY SPELL: CONFESSIONS OF A WHITE WITCH

“I see writing as a spell, decorating my home as a spell, singing as a spell. Whenever I express myself I am casting MY spell.” Shaheen Miro shares what it means to grow up and embrace being a white witch…

I have always had an intimate connection to the unseen – as a child I could feel the pulse of magic in the world around me. I spent my time wandering through the shadows of trees, marveling at the menagerie of creatures forming, looming, and dancing on the ground around me. I gathered stones, flowers, and found objects to create charms for change and good fortune. I spent my time talking to invisible forces…the spirit of the river, the rocks, and my little calico cat.

A little fairy on the edge of dreamland, roaming between worlds, and unraveling mysteries, sometimes I found myself lost, and confused by things I could not put into words. The loneliness of abandoned buildings made my spine tingle, and spirits of the dead danced in and out of my awareness – difficult things for a child to articulate.

My mother and grandmother were my advocates. Strong, beautiful women with big hearts, strong hands, they were brave witches who honored this path, and these gifts.

And so we explored the tangles of nature together. Singing with the plants, and soaking up the light of the moon. My grandmother always spoke of angels as divine helpers who could be called upon at any time, and my mother gave me the gift of the Tarot as a small child – her way of helping me cultivate and hone my blooming psychic abilities.

To some, my story may sound fantastical, the musings of a child captivated by fairytale visions. But all myths are rooted in reality, and I’ve simply always been aware that magic is alive and well in the “real” world.

As such, I never “grew out” of my exploration of the mystical world. I learned to read between the lines, to see the space beyond the eyes. In every moment, in every situation, and in every person, I can see a bead of magic. How we are all made of the same light and shadows – divine beings on an arduous and essentially liberating earth-walk journey.

I have found magic in books, in stories, and in art, and my life has become a pilgrimage to reclaim the folds of the mystical world, while remaining grounded here in the physical. Because this is where magic has the most power.

To quote Stevie Nicks (a weaver of spells through songs): “The stars are apart of us.” Witches know the ebb and flow of the Moon, and we hone and honor this powerful tide of energy in the understanding that we are equal parts spirit and flesh. Our bodies know the grace of the seasons, and the tides of the Moon, and when we channel this energy we become super-powered.

As such, the Moon has always been my muse and my teacher. I spend time soaking in her milky light. I talk to her, expressing my deepest wishes, and my heaviest regrets. My mother and I wander out into the landscapes of the moon and light candles in honor of her light and glory. The moon has become a portal to our inner world, and even when we are apart we know that the Moon connects our souls.

How else do I live it?

There is nothing like wrapping myself in an aura of black chiffon, and letting my wings catch the wind as I spin and spin in the moonlight. A little white witch taking flight into the mystical; transcending my body, and moving through time. I feel alive in the cool hush of the night. Night sounds are prayers that awaken the soul. Witches know the night holds mysteries, and so they seek refuge in her subtle energy.

And the white witch knows the power of magic lies in the ability to evoke what is cradled within. Spells become nothing more than a rhythm of expressing and exploring intention. We mingle with, and call upon the latent potential of objects. Calling on the spirit of botanicals, igniting the influence of candles, and mingling with the essence of crystals.

The Shadow self has also become a teacher for me – for there are gifts to be found here, in the parts that are suppressed, feared, and therefore unacknowledged. When you reach into the dark, you can pull out treasures and heal what’s stuck. So when I encounter the dark, I try to communicate with it. To see what my Shadow Self has to say.

I call myself a White Witch, because I know I am the night and the day. I seek to understand the dark, rather than fear it. To do this, I must know and honor my intuition, seeking out the patterns of the Universe unfolding around me. In omens, cards, and tea leaves. And it’s when I ignore the messages that I find myself falling off kilter.

This is why owning the word “witch” is an act of power. Sometimes it can feel easier to grow numb to the whispers of the magical world. To put your head down, and do what you are told. To act “normal.” But you are not living if you are not expressing, and you are not expressing if you are not telling the whole story. So now I find my power in being “different” – and stepping into the flow of my eccentricities.

For me, witchcraft is a way of life, an inborn desire to truly live. This also means following my creative impulses as an act of scared communion. I see writing as a spell, decorating my home as a spell, singing as a spell. Whenever I express myself I am casting MY spell.

This applies to all the powerful ones, the thought leaders, the rebels, the eccentrics, the artists. The ones who operate in the Earthly realms from a deep seated desire to bring their inner world to life. Magic asked them to channel their vision into being. All they needed was to be their unique expression. And the world changed because of it.

Witches know they do not have to explain their doings. They just do what feels right. Whatever feeds their spirit. And since this takes real bravery, witches don’t do well with fear.

A LESSON IN NEW MOON MAGICK

Want to align yourself with every phase of mother Moon? Gabriela Herstik has a lesson in New Moon magick just for you…

If you’ve ever wondered how you can use the energy of mother Moon to manifest or discard that which may or may not serve you, you’ve entered the realm of what’s known as ”Sympathetic Magick”.

Don’t let this menacing term fool you, it’s really not as scary as it sounds! To put it simply, it means working with the waxing and waning of the Moon, as it gains and loses light, to reflect what you would like more or less of in your life.

Here’s the lowdown on New Moon magick, to help you channel your inner witchy mamma…

What is it
“Sympathetic Magick” works on the assumption that there’s a secret sympathy that connects all energies. We may not be able to see this, but we feel and understand it. This concept can be broken down into two parts; The Law of Similarity and The Law of Contact.

The Law of Similarity
The Law of Similarity is the most relevant when it comes to working with the Moon. This Law states that magick works because like attracts like (as both the Buddha, and The Secret have taught us), and so in imitating the result you desire, you will cause it to happen by attracting it to you. This is also called The Law of Attraction.

The Law of Contact
The Law of Contact works with the idea that the energy of two objects continues to act on one another even after they’re separated. Voodoo dolls are a good representation of this Law! By hurting a certain part of the doll you’re following the Law of Similarity – by using some actual hair, or a piece of clothing belonging to the person the doll represents, you’re following The Law of Contact. (Don’t worry – we’re not suggesting you use Sympathetic Magick to hurt anyone, but this is the easiest way to explain the difference between the two Laws.)

How This Relates to the Moon
Okay, so some basic astronomy- when the Moon is dark it’s called the New Moon. As it then becomes more light it’s called a Waxing Moon. After the time of the Full Moon, it starts to lose light, known as the Waning Moon. The easiest way to remember this? Wax on, Wane off. In relation to Sympathetic Magick – as the Moon’s light grows, or waxes, you tap the Law of Similarity and perform some New Moon magick for what you want more of. When the Moon’s light shrinks, or wanes, you use the same law to perform magick for what you want to let go of.

When the Moon is Waxing
As the Moon grows in size and gains both strength and light, focus on what it is you want to grow and manifest! In the two weeks from when the Moon is black, up until it’s full, there’s a really strong window of opportunity to attract more of anything you want an abundance of. The waxing Moon is a perfect time to think about (and perform magick for) communication, financial and legal matters, healing and health. For example, you could do this money spell. Think about what you want to increase and go for it.

When the Moon is Waning
In the time between the Full Moon to the Black Moon, or New Moon, there’s a strong window of opportunity to let go. This is a time to analyze what no longer serves you and to rid yourself of it, a great time to break old habits, relationships and addictions. The waning Moon is a time of release. Take some time to tune in to what speaks to your soul – if it isn’t letting you rise to your highest possible potential, is it necessary? If not then let it go, let it go.

When the Moon is New
Of all the Moon phases, the New Moon and Full Moon are the most potent. When the moon is completely dark, it’s a really strong time to work your New Moon magick and get rid of what you don’t want. It’s a good idea to retreat from the world, focus and think of what really does and doesn’t serve you. The energy of the New Moon occurs the day it’s marked on the calendar, as well as the day before and after. PS – If you need some ideas of ways to celebrate with more New Moon magick, we got you.

When the Moon is Full
Meanwhile, the Full Moon is a time of celebration! The divine feminine is amped, and it’s a good time to gather up your tribe and give gratitude. The Full Moon speaks of commitment, psychic ability and magickal acts of all kinds. Spells are especially strong on this day (as well as three days before or three days after) and you can tailor your spell to fit the coming New Moon, too. If you want to manifest, think of the Full Moon as the apex of this energy. If you want to perform a spell to let go, tailor it to the fact that every day after the Full Moon will assist in shrinking whatever it is.

Other Tools
If you really want to use Sympathetic Magick to its full advantage during each Moon phase, don’t forget about the other tools at your disposal. Affirmations, crystals, flowers, herbs, incense, trees… go crazy! The more ways you can state your intended desire to the Universe, the stronger the magick will be. Beyond anything else – believe in what you do whole heartedly, Magick flows the best when you completely surrender to it!

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: INTO THE AKASHIC RECORDS.

This week I met the Dharma Punx, connected to my witchy mama, and got guidance from the Akashic Records….

I opened the Akashic Records. Or rather, my friend Elyssa did. A gifted intuitive, the Akashic Records are Elyssa’s latest “thing”, and as soon as I started talking to her about a particular crossroads I have found myself staring down on my journey, she suggested a session.

For the uninitiated, the concept of the Akashic Records speaks to a metaphysical “library” or “filing system” that holds a record of every word, deed, thought and action, of every soul, in its every incarnation. So yeah, unless you want to spend the next two hours in a total head spin, don’t even try to picture this as a physical thing. Just go with it as a cosmic concept!

This article has more about the Akashic Records, but the idea is you can open them up to get specific information about certain people and situations, and the role they have to play in your current incarnation and your soul’s development. I mean why would you NOT want to spend your Wednesday evening doing this.

First, Elyssa asked for my current legal name – “as that’s how spirit registers your soul” – before opening the Akashic Records by reciting a special prayer, and calling in the masters, teachers and loved ones (departed ancestors) “assigned” to my soul in this lifetime.

This is the cosmic “team” Elyssa then consulted every time I asked a question, and the answers that came through just FELT so right. I always think the best kind of psychic readings pretty much support and validate your own intuition about whatever situation you’re facing, and that’s exactly what I got from my Akashic gatekeepers.

Oh, and I recorded the reading on my iPhone – and it ended with me going “Yay!” at 1.11.11 #angelnumbers

I hung out with the Dharma Punx. I’ve wanted to connect with this sober Buddhist meditation group since I first read about them in i-D magazine about five years ago. And since drinking a lot less (if not all out sobriety) is on my current consciousness-raising to-do list, I figured the time had come to go see what they had to say.

And it seems like I’m not the only one – I have never seen Maha Rose in Greenpoint, where they host a regular Monday night session, so packed! (p.s. SO psyched to see our favorite healing center featured in the NY Times this week too)

The session went like this: 30-minute guided mindfulness meditation, 30-minute “Dharma talk” on a core component of the Buddhist teachings, Q&A.

This week’s talk was about how happiness is an inside, in the moment job, and can never be found in the pursuit and attainment of external things (including booze, I guess was the implication). My takeaway by the end of the night? Meditation is a powerful way to recognize and cultivate the serenity required to STAND IN THIS TRUTH. Amen. (And time to pick up what had become a seriously lapsed practice).

I connected to my witchy Mama. If you read last week’s column, you’ll know I’ve been experiencing the The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (thank you Marie Kondo), and while tacking the “Books” segment of the process, I unearthed this little gem.

The inscription inside reads: “Christmas 1972. To Nancy, all my love, Louby xx”- the “Nancy” in question being my mom!

Now, I always knew she was a hippie. I think my first solid food was pureed aduki-bean stew. But if I ever doubted where I got my mystically witchy tendencies, I no longer need to consult the Akashic Records on this one.

Containing recipes for all sorts of “Remedies, Spells, Elixirs, Cordials and Aphrodisiacs”, below is a taster of the kind of wisdom contained within.

Aphrodisiacs
If thou wilt that a woman bee not visious nor desire men, take the private members of a Woolfe, and the hairs which doe grow on the cheeks or eyebrowes of him, and burne it all, and give it to her to drinke, when she knoweth not, and she shall desire no other man.

Err, come back modern medicine, all is forgiven…

SPELLBOUND: INTERVIEW WITH A WHITE WITCH

The ancient holiday of Beltane (May 1st in the Northern Hemisphere), is celebrated as the first day of summer and carries a unique opportunity to authentically connect with faeries, romance, and magic! On its eve, white witch Lucy Cavendish shares with Madeline Giles what being a professional witch entails – and how true witchcraft is about inspiring others to remember their own innate magical powers.

“There’s an artistic aspect to being a witch,” muses a bright and bubbly Lucy Cavendish, calling from her native Sydney, Australia. “Even though a lot of spell work seems to be about attracting, it’s also about creating and contributing – there’s an eclectic, free-spirited vibe to it.” Cavendish, who is a self-declared bohemian witch, has been teaching, writing, speaking and practicing witchcraft for over 20 years. Through her bestselling oracle card decks and books (including Witchy Magic, Spellbound, and several others), Cavendish disparages the hoary viewpoint that real-life witches are fantasy.

Witches hold a rather notorious reputation in society. What’s your personal opinion on that?
I understand why people have a negative perception, because that’s been in our popular culture for some time – and I would say that just like there are bad postmen and bad teachers, of course there are people who work witchcraft in ways I would consider irresponsible and unethical. But the point people overlook is that there’s corruption and selfishness in all paths – whether you’re a policeman, a politician, or a witch – it all comes down to the individual and his or her intent.

How does one go about becoming a professional witch, out of interest?
It depends on what particular path you choose to travel, as there are various forms of witchcraft. Personally, I’ve chosen to follow a more eclectic, non-hierarchical path. I’ve done my Year And A Day, which is where you sit in a circle for 366 days with mentors discussing and practicing spells and conducting rituals. It’s a collective approach so you’ve always got people to support you and to question you if they think what you’re doing is unethical.

And how do you pass the teachings on?
It feels like; “I’ve developed this connection, if you would like to, you can develop this too. Maybe we could work together.” My aim is to inspire people to have a beautiful experience of the divine whether it occurs sitting in a grove of trees or through a celestial vision.

What was your life like before you became a witch?
Even though I was always really drawn to this work and I did readings for people all the time, I spent a lot of time trying to fit in. I wanted to live a life that didn’t look quite so weird from the outside. So I went to university and worked in really ordinary jobs, but I never lasted long. I’d be the production editor at a magazine, but have my cards out on my desk – which is probably why I didn’t last! At the time I assumed that other people wouldn’t accept me, but really I wasn’t accepting of myself. I honestly thought if I did what I loved – which is what I’m doing now – I’d starve and my cat would die. I thought I’d be a little street witch, a magical homeless person doing readings on street corners (laughs). That’s what I was afraid of.

So how did you make the transition?
I ended up leaving Australia to travel for a few years, and that really opened me up by helping me get through the fear of making ends meet while doing what I love. I never thought I could be doing what I do now – I assumed I would have to be unhappy in a “real” job, and that this would be a passion to be kept secret from some people. Thank goodness I took the risk! I chucked myself out of the nest and learned that it is possible to live a precarious, artistic and magical life – that somehow, if you commit to it, it will work out.

Now let’s get into the detail. Can you cast spells on other people?
There are very strong ethics and laws around what we do, one of which is never cast a spell against the free will of another person. So if someone comes to me and says; “I’d like you to cast a spell for me,” I can do that – but it needs to be for them. Not for that man or woman they’re interested in, for their mother’s inheritance, their ex-husband or wife, etc. That’s not what we do, and I don’t consider people who do do this kind of thing witches as they’re ignorant of the law, and it’s not healthy. Witches uphold the Law of Threefold Return, which means whatever you send out will return to you to the power of three. It’s important to be aware of that. It’s not the same as karma, but it’s similar to it – and if you’re going to sit in that consciousness and stir up that energy, there’s no way you can avoid it impacting you.

What types of spells do you cast most often?
A lot of spell work is about empowering people by raising their confidence and self-esteem – because that’s really the root of manifesting the things we want in our lives. Sometimes people are afraid to go after what they want because they feel they’re not good enough to deserve it, and spellcrafting is designed to shift a person’s energy and help them get to a place where they feel strong, confident and grounded – and then their contribution can begin.

What’s the first thing you’d recommend to someone interested in strengthening their divine connection?
The first thing I’d ask is how often they’re outside. How much time do they spend in nature? Are they aware of their local environment and what grows near where they live? What phase the moon is in? How often does it rain? It may sound like I’m asking everyone to become climate specialists, but it’s more that I’m asking people to get back in touch with how things work at a natural level in their environment. When you begin observing where you live and how energy works there, you begin to restore the natural power source that flows not only around us, but within us. That way, we begin to feel more powerful – and thus increase our opportunities to be a fully contributing, creative soul, which is empowering for anyone whether you want to be a witch or not.

In the below extract from her book Witchy Magic, Lucy elaborates on how to celebrate Beltane. Back in the day, our ancestors used to welcome the sweetness of summer on this enchanted holiday by dancing around ceremonious Beltane fires and making love underneath the stars. Today, witches continue to celebrate this festive day with large celebrations and generously sweet offerings to mother earth.

“Beltane is representative of vitality, fertility and the energy of the sun, so its foods include luscious fruits like cherries and strawberries, green leaf, herb and flower petal salads, oat or barley cakes, and honey. Beltane is a festival of love and romance, and roses and other flowers can be added to your food, used as a garnish or table decoration, woven into a garland for your hair or used in spells for love, which can be as simple as lighting a pink candle and making a wish or soaking in a bath filled with pink rose petals. You can also leave a little plate of nuts, berries and flowers out for the faeries, as this is a cross-quarter day when the veils are thin, and their energy can be drawn upon. Dress in long, swirling clothes with flowers in your hair and dance barefoot on the grass, soaking up the vibration of the earth and of this powerful, potent time.”

LUCY’S BELTANE ROSE PETAL TEA
Rose tea has a light flavor, a sweet scent and a calming effect.
*Using one cup of fresh rose petals, cut off the biter white bases from the petals and rinse well. Place in a teapot and pour two cups of boiling water over them. Allow to steep for five minutes – the petals will darken and become discolored, which is normal. Strain the rose petal liquid into teacups and add a little honey of you like.

Read more from Madeline Giles at Mermadeline.com, and follow her on Twitter.