In the face of heart-wrenching challenges that left many of us feeling very troubled (read: angry, confused, and afraid) we remained committed to the deeply magical acts of connecting and co-creating. From transforming difficult emotions into empowered action, to the pure pleasure of crystal dildos, we give you the Best of The Numinous 2016. Cause we gotta have faith, cosmic crusaders…
10. 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.
Transform the unhealed and unloved aspects of yourself this Dark Moon, says Shaheen Miro…
Before the birth of each New Moon, the sky grows rich and velvety—it is the night of the Dark Moon. We enter the infinite darkness of the Crone Goddess. She is the keeper of the mysteries, the underworld, the expansive void that tingles our psychic receptors.
The Dark Moon is the gatekeeper between the waking world, and the rich, fertile land of inner transformation. She holds the key to the soul’s mysteries. Penetrating the surface of superficial life, the Dark Moon awakens our zest for life, our sensual nature, and our most inspired magic.
When we tread into the Land of Darkness, we delve deeper into our own soul. Riding on the dark wings of the Owl we sweep further into the enigma of our Shadow… to where our unloved, unhealed, and unacknowledged parts silently wait. But answering the call of the shadow awakens our tenacity and power. We show up bigger and brighter in the world, as we learn to express our most mystical self.
So lay down your hurts at the altar of the Dark Moon. Spin your woes into strands of gold. For healing only comes when you go into the places that hurt.
:: A Dark Moon Ritual for Purging Pain and Restoring Vitality ::
You Will Need:
Your Statement of Release. This can be a written statement, or an intention you carry in your head.
A black candle.
A black scarf.
Some Dragon’s Blood, or other rich, earthy incense.
Walnut flower essence. (Black walnut is a powerful tree for severing ties with the past, as well as with things that hurt you, especially unhealthy relationships—walnut Flower Essence has a similar releasing power)
Set aside the night of the Dark Moon (the night before the New Moon) to perform your ritual. This ritual will result in a bath, and if you can perform the entire ceremony in your bathroom that’s perfect. If not, find a space where you will be uninterrupted and then carry on into the bathroom.
Darken the ritual space (or simply turn off all lights). Lighting the black candle, make a declaration of intent. Such as:
“I enter the Dark Moon Kingdom with reverence and respect. With perfect love and trust. With bravery and complete surrender. I visit the garden of lost soul fragments, seeking bones discarded by choice or force throughout my life. I honor these parts, I sing to them, I quicken them back into life. Enfold me in the arms of rebirth and regeneration. So Shall it be.”
Holding the candle, walk in a widdershins (counterclockwise) circle to stir banishing and releasing magic. Begin where you like, but the West is the power spot for soul work and metamorphosis. Walking the circle summon protective energies. Let the Dark Moon energy settle around you, creating a zone for inner work. Include your bathtub in the circle if you can.
Seat yourself in the circle’s center. Begin breathing deeply, in and out. Slip into a light, relaxing trance.
Now light the incense, letting the snake of smoke waft through the circle filling the atmosphere with sacred protective energies. As you continue to breath, go deeper into your center. Repeat the above invocation.
Now allow yourself to gently crack open, traveling down the path to your pain and heartache. Feel how your body has become dense with the garbage you have accumulated, staying mindful of the intention you came to release. When you are filled to the top with heavy, sticky feelings, begin to release them into the dark void.
Repeat the Statement of Release as they slip out—reading something you have written or simply speaking from your heart. Become vulnerable to the receptive energy of the Dark Moon. Give her your pain and trauma. You are ready to purge, move forward and heal.
Be here as long as you like. Let your body respond as it needs. Shake, cry, curl into a ball, slip into silence. Whatever spirit moves you to do is perfect. The Dark Moon will move you through this experience of release.
The Black Walnut Bath:
Fill your bath tub with warm water. If your bath is in another room, gather your accouterments, and see your circle move with you into the bathroom. You can recast the circle if you like.
If you don’t have a full tub, fill a bowl big enough to submerge both your feet.
Pour a few drops of Walnut Flower Essence into the water. Visualize or feel the water being infused with the dark, generative powers of the Moon. See it become an inky black sky. The great void of transmogrification, where there is nothing to fear.
Now wrap your eyes with the black scarf to disrupt your sense of sight. Then slip into the bath. Relax into the embrace of the dark. You are in the alchemical waters of healing. The vessel of rebirth, the womb of the Dark Moon.
Do you feel any resistance? Is there still lingering pain in your body and spirit? Is your heart heavy? Are your wounds still bleeding?
Allow the remaining feelings to fill you up until there is a sense of surrender. Now release them into water. Speak your Statement of Release again to the Goddess, asking the Dark Moon to take it all away…to return it to the void. Speak out loud, and speak from your heart.
Fully release and float in these healing waters as long as you need. When you are ready, let the water drain. Unveil your eyes. Thank the Goddess for her counsel. Release the circle clockwise. Then blow the candle out, or allow it to burn down.
The Healing Aftermath:
Major blocks of energy and pain have been purged. You have asked for the guidance and protection of the Dark Moon. Her energy and influence will curl through your spirit and move through your life in synchronistic ways. Honor her process, and yourself by being compassionate. Rest, eat something rejuvenating. Sleep as long as you like.
You may feel spacey for a few days as your soul parts knit back together. You have undergone a type of psychic surgery. Go as deep into this process as you like. You have just scratched the surface. Meet the Dark Moon each month with a new pain to lay to rest. Healing is always an expansive, ongoing process.
Seeking spiritual guidance or doing divination with a favorite intuitive, friend or oracle is also welcomed during this process. They may help you see how the pieces are coming together. How life is heading in a new direction. And never forget to ask for the guidance and protection of your Spirit Circle: Your Guides, Angels, and Ancestors.
“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.
We’ve just experienced a powerful New Moon in multi-faceted Gemini, gifting us an opportunity to embrace the quicksilver side of ourselves. Nadia Noir gives an insight into a life spent searching for “the other me.” Images: Bela Borsodi for Document Journal.
When I was 10-years-old, my mother took me to a bulk retail store full of tiny sausages, discounted toilet paper, seven kinds of hummus before that was a thing, and kitschy forms of entertainment. It was coming up on my birthday so she told me I could buy two things. Anything I wanted. I went for a box set of every Disney song ever recorded and a giant astrology book with hundreds of pages of words, pictures of animals, gemstones, and a diagram for drawing out your natal chart.
I remember turning to the pages that talked about Gemini and seeing birds and monkeys inked across the pages, “yellow” being a prominent theme color, and descriptive words like “superficial,” “mercurial,” “intellectual” and “social butterfly” describing the tiny little Gemini creature that was me. I took the book home and with compass in hand, painstakingly drew out my chart. Eventually, months later, I thought I had solved the puzzle that was me. I was done. Everything about me was illuminated. Or, so I thought.
From that point forward, I told people that I was not a Gemini. There were other parts of my chart that described me and I was not, I was never a Gemini. I was something else entirely. An astrological amalgamation of all the other things in my chart. I was the diplomatic, regal drama of my Leo Rising. I was the lurid, panty-scorching nymphomania of my Scorpio moon. I was the warm campfire-scented sensuality of my Venus in Taurus which was also my Midheaven which was also in my tenth house and one time an astrologer I met at 3am in a coffee shop said I am basically ruled by Venus, which means I was definitely not a Gemini.
Geminis were bubbly. They talked a lot. They didn’t feel. That was the main reason I decided I wasn’t a Gemini. I had feelings. Massive ones that swung me up into the air like a father tossing his child into a sun-drenched sky only to forget to catch the child. I was a broken fairy, wings crushed against the pavement.
And for years I walked in this haze of what I perceived as Scorpionic darkness, sometimes washed over with emotions so cruel and body-crushing that the manic-pixie-dream-girl that was my Gemini side couldn’t survive. She would either choke on saltwater tears, sleeping in bathtubs and reading Victorian erotica, or she would rebel by taking my Moon out dancing in full-on drunken nymphette revelry, a sheen of lascivious Gemini glee captured mischievously through the stoic mask of my Leo features.
I called her the “Party Slut.” She would die the next day in a wave of pity or guilt or hungover misunderstanding. Her glitter, scattered across the floor in impossible rainbows, would be swept up into a tiny bottle with a stopper that was to be cracked open for “emergencies only.”
The emergency came half-way through my Saturn Return. I was red wine drunk at my friend’s clothing store. We were listening to Mariah Carey and in our perpetual, drunken Thelma and Louise-ish state, I was finally understanding what love might mean and I knew one day I wanted to find real love and instead of just flailing and weeping naked in a series of hot and cold baths that lasted for hours like I would usually do, my supposedly Scorpionic shell cracked. What I uncovered was a changeling, a creature so fierce and fluid that only the power of the wind (which I’ve always adored) could whip the edges into place after a few nights of unashamed shape-shifting. What I uncovered (or stopped negating, rather) was my Gemini.
That pendulum swing of moods? That was pure Gemini. Dancing around the Maypole. Dry humping the Maypole. Turning the Maypole into a stripper pole. And then, when the Maypole stopped being amusing, smashing and burning the Maypole into a sacred effigy of youth lost. The lack of the supposedly quintessential Gemini charm? That was my Gemini side analyzing, surveying, prospecting, dissecting, and poking at people. Pinching their souls until they were bruised and raw. I was writing an eternal, internal book on everyone’s every movement until I could find the two sides to them. I wanted everyone to have two sides. I wanted to see in them what I could not find in myself. It was then they became whole.
All that time that I was denying my Gemininess, I was being a classic Gemini. Trying to find another piece to make me feel complete, to solve the riddle, to cease the shifting, from light to dark and back again. Every time I switched my style from ’60s girl group to ’50s beatnik to sequin-crazy glam rock goddess to paisley goth to raw vegan yoga girl, that was me trying to find my other half. Every time I took a shot of Patron or a shot of wheatgrass or burned sage or burned bridges, that was me trying to understand the other me.
My Gemini search engine was constantly spiritually downloading all the information ever over the yin-yang network of life. And, I am not alone in this. Gemini Stevie Nicks may be the White Witch, but she twirls around in black fringe and scowls at the world through her mystical lyrics. Everyone adores her. Gemini Prince is the Purple One; he also scowls at the world through his sex-laden, dualistic androgyny. At one point, he even denied his own existence and renamed himself (something I also always do.) And yet, everyone adores him. Morrissey is a Gemini and he’s like the King of Scowling. For some reason, everyone loves Moz. Angelina Jolie, the world’s favorite altruistic sexpot who once wore her ex-husband’s blood in a vial around her neck? Much beloved Gemini.
Danny Elfman, who is known for his childlike yet dark and twisted music? Everyone’s favorite creepy Gemini. All these Gemini celebrities and musicians walk on the shadow side of life, communicating their dazzling talents through the erotic or the wanton or the esoteric and they do it in a way that perpetuates that primal, intoxicating buzz of teen lust. And that’s why a Gemini is so adored.
Just like me, they dance deliriously to the sound of the pan pipes leading them into a forest full of flower-strewn orgies and sequin-studded shoes, consummate teenagers in a state of angst or ecstasy. Dark fairies or genies ready to grant your every wish or impishly antagonize you until they get bored and give up.
But that’s the thing I learned about Geminis, that I should have learned that day when I was ten years old, drawing out my birth chart and plotting to succeed at it no matter how much it confused me. A Gemini never gives up. They pick up the broken skeletal remains of their wings, glue them back together with blood and stardust, and wink at the next person who passes by to hitch a ride, get a job, make-out, or maybe if they’re lucky, all three.
Nadia Noir is a writer that likes black tea, blackberry scones, black cats, the smell of black leather, and the sartorial combo of black and gold. She likes to twerk naked until she’s drenched in sweat and make love to the sounds of psychedelic sitar. She still cries a lot and goes into fits of possessive Scorpionic rage, but her Forever 16 Gemini just pushed her off the bed and told her to shut up and get over herself. She just now got over herself and totally forgot what we were talking about.
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.