Stephanie Valente lives in Brooklyn, NY. She has published Hotel Ghost (Bottlecap Press, 2015) and waiting for the end of the world (Bottlecap Press, 2017) and has work included in Susan, TL;DR, and Cosmonauts Avenue. Sometimes, she feels human. http://stephanievalente.com
BY LISA MARIE BASILE
Hello, Luna Luna readers—it's your long, lost editor-in-chief. This post is looooong overdue, but alas, summer languidness and a lack of time. So, I've got an announcement: I wrote a book, and it's called Light Magic for Dark Times! It is available for preorder now, and it's out in September.
In a way, this book is the official Luna Luna collection of rituals and practices for grief, resiliency, shadow work, sex magic, writing magic, body and identity appreciation, regeneration, love, trauma, creativity, and glamour. I'm so out of my mind excited!
In the fall of last year, I was approached by a publishing house, Quarto Books (the leading global publisher of illustrated nonfiction!)—whose editor had been reading Luna Luna (and one of my posts about grief rituals). They asked me if I'd be interested in writing a longer book of what they'd seen—so we went back and forth on some ideas. As a poet and essayist, this felt like a beautiful challenge, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't difficult. I had been practicing magic for so long—and in a really intimate, quiet, chaotic, eclectic and solitary way (more on that here), so I wanted to make sure that my work was accessible and inclusive to be understood and used by anyone, including people who also had their own set ways of practicing. Magic is something we all have within us, and I believe removing barriers to that personal power is so important—especially in times when we feel we've lost our autonomy or sense of joy.
As a former foster care youth, a trauma survivor, and someone with a chronic illness, feelings of out-of-control-ness have been no stranger to me. Those feelings can impact your self-esteem and your creativity, your resiliency, your hope, your desire, and the way you engage with the world around you. I wanted to share some of my personal practices and rituals that helped me through all of that. And I brought my experiences as a poet, empath, community builder, and writer to the book, too (so, yes it's even got a poetry section).
It was important to me that the book be a collection of practices that could both honor and manage our shadow selves and our light. They're one in the same, I think; they just move along on a spectrum, sometimes hand in hand, sometimes separately.
Oh, and the foreword is written by Kristen J. Sollee, the amazing, inimitable, wonderful author of Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring The Sex Positive.
Would you like to preorder the book?! You can do just that anywhere you can get books (Amazon, your local indie book store, B&N, and more). It can be preordered in the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada here. It can even be preordered at Target and Walmart (wild, right?).
Oh, and here are some photos from the writing & editing process:
Having a mini flip out, witches! The black font on the cover and the crystal-like design on the back will be foiled (so, *shiny*). The inside covers will be pearlescent. Excuse me as I do a hundred cartwheels down the street. Also, preorder link is in the bio BUT message me if you want links to alternate ordering methods or if you’re in Canada, NZ, Aus, or the UK! 🖤
I am soooo excited to share one of the GORGEOUS images from the intro to Light Magic for Dark Times 💛The talented @adagracee captured me (wearing my actual crown from @sthedwigatelier) so beautifully. I cannot wait for you to see the rest of the book. I’m so in love with the small touches of color, like magic, that sweep in and out of the book. They’re quiet but deliberate. They’re intentional. I’m so excited. You can preorder the book by visiting the link in my bio! 💛
🖤 I’m really fascinated by how we use ritual in our everyday lives—and how it intersects with wellness and healing and creativity. So I started a new blog, lightmagicdarktimes.com—please check out my new column #RitualTalk, which is an interview series that encounters ritual from varied points of view. To kick things off I spoke with some of the most magical people I know: @mythsofcreation + @tristamarieedwards + @lezacantoral + @darleystewart. Visit: lightmagicdarktimes.com 🖤
💎I got a beautiful surprise from my publisher in the mail today! My book, laid out, with all of its glorious art—illustrations by @adagracee—ready to mark up. I canNOT wait to share more info and the preorder link with you all. My heart is bursting with joy.💎 . . Writing this book was a very intense and very emotional experience (and time in my life), but it was fun and pulsing and changing. I wrote it for all of us dreamers and creators and darklings and light seekers..so that we can find a path through heaviness and murk and emerge more resilient. I feel so grateful. 💎
Just 10,000 more words (and then the editing phase) and I’ll have completed Light Magic for Dark Times. I’m so excited to show you all this book! For now, we’re working on illustrations (I’ll share soon!) and my publishing company and I are sending ivory & taupe organza sachets of dried rose and lavender with little spell scrolls to a sales conference. I can’t believe this is my life.🖤 The most beautiful thing about writing this book as a secular person is the opportunity to explore the very real magic in everyday things—in care and kindness, rituals of routine, in creativity, in self-love, in looking into the abyss. 🌸 #LightMagicforDarkTimes #poet #witch #picoftheday #nyc #magic #book #flowercrown
🌕🌓🌑 FRIENDS. I've been sitting on a biggggg announcement for some time now: I will be publishing a nonfiction book next fall with Fair Winds Press/Quarto Knows, who is the leading global illustrated non-fiction book publisher (they've got 48 imprints, and they sell books across 50 countries and in 39 languages!). In other words: frightening! But I do think my life has led up to this point. 🌙 The book centers on DIY practices, mostly inspired by witchcraft, to get us through dark & hard times. It’s called Light Magick for Dark Times, and it's for everyone--from people specifically interested in or beginners practicing witchcraft, to people who just want to ritualize their intentions and expressions during dark, trying or hard moments. 🌓 I have had the darkest year of my life so far this year (god, haven't we all?), so when this opportunity fell into my lap (because the editor is, amazingly, a fan of @lunalunamag and reached out) it felt kismet to take it. I put a lot of thought into whether I should or not, but ultimately I decided yes. Because light wins and because I hope to be able to make tangible my compassion and love. A few of you here, my close friends, have inspired and pushed me to take this project on. 🌖 Combining my background in writing about trauma and healing and self-care, the nerdy amount of research I’ve done, and my love of ritual and witchcraft, this is *the* best book I could think to offer the world at this point in time. I'm super crazy grateful and extremely honored. 🌙 #lightmagicdarktimes
Via @lisamariebasile: When I was writing Light Magic for Dark Times, it was important to me to make space for the reader's intuition and natural inclinations. You know what feels right for your body, your lifestyle, your beliefs. For example, spending tons of money on tools and doing elaborate rituals for self-care doesn't exactly feel right to me, so sometimes I go with my gut: wearing a color might bring me energy one day, inscribing a symbol into my palm may give me strength, and listening to "that FEELING" I'm feeling — above ALL else — might mean the difference between regret and joy. We all have magic inside of us, truly. So trust your intuition, always, and know that magic is different and personal to us all.
Via @lisamariebasile: As a poet and writer, I have always felt that language—the sound of a word, the shape of a letter, the idea conveyed, the musicality of the phrase spoken—is a sort of incantation. When we write, we conjure. We declare. We promise. From my book, I wanted to share a small idea—that writing is magic. If you're ever feeling down or powerless or exhausted, take a moment to write out a small incantation or declaration, to or for yourself. Use your language specifically, and write it in the present. Your power is tangible. I hope you'll check out my book, Light Magic for Dark Times for more on "Word Magic!"—@lisamariebasile 🌬🔮✨
The Luna Luna Grimoire is now available for preorder! . . LIGHT MAGIC FOR DARK TIMES by editor in chief @lisamariebasile is a fully illustrated hard cover (illustrations done by the wonderful @adagracee!), full of rituals and practices, for anyone interested in modern and intentional personal power & magic. 🖤 The foreword was written by the inimitable @kristenkorvette (author of ‘Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive’ & editor of @slutist ). 🖤 . . It is definitely inspired by Luna Luna’s exploration of light and dark and her longtime experience with poetry, trauma recovery, chronic illness, death, foster care, and, of course....regeneration and creativity and autonomy and healing. There may even be an Anaïs Nin-inspired ritual—who knows? ;-)🖤 . . While the title might suggest a sort of ra-ra-positivity, the book is truly about finding a way through darkness while also honoring it and immersing yourself in it. It is accessible, the tools mentioned within are inexpensive and the rituals are flexible & autonomous to YOU—meaning everything in the book can be adapted. 🖤 . . @kristenkorvette writes, “Light Magic For Dark Times is a book I wish I had by my bedside and in my heart during my most challenging moments. It holds space for healing and exploring and awakening the parts of ourselves that we or the outside world might label dark, and offers rejuvenating rites of lightness and illumination. Basile’s spellcraft radiates love and sex-positivity, but it is certainly not hex-negative. She elevates shadow work and emphasizes the importance of delving into the dark and facing pain head on to heal. There is no trauma too deep or desire too superficial for the spells, incantations, and rituals contained in this grimoire." 🖤 . . It’s available in the US, the UK, New Zealand, Australia and Canada—and the link to pre-order is in our bio.