#treatyonaughtyself to some Krampus goodies.Read More
Why would anyone go out of the way to visit a graveyard intentionally? In addition to the fascinating stories they contain, cemeteries can be open-air sculpture parks, full of one-of-a-kind artwork. They provide habitats for birds and wildlife, as well as arboretums and gardens of surprising beauty. Cemeteries appeal to art lovers, amateur sociologists, birdwatchers, master gardeners, historians, hikers, genealogists, picnickers, and anyone who just wants to stop and smell the roses. Our relationships with the places we visit can be deepened and enriched by learning the stories of those who came—and stayed—before us.Read More
BY LISA MARIE BASILE
If you keep an altar in your home, it may be a place where you naturally gravitate after work to ground yourself and get all that commute-work-capitalism off of you. It might be a place where you do spellwork. Or it might not be an altar for spellcraft at all; it may simply exist as a place where you keep symbols—reminders—of your strength, vision, and creativity, especially if feeling strong or wise or creative or happy isn't always easy (and when is it?).
For me, it's a little bit of each column—a place for me to be surrounded by my personal power objects in order to meditate and cast my intentions, and also a place where I can build a sort of mood board of my self at any given moment. I like to gather pictures of myself, crystals (these are from Myths of Creation) that I use as symbols for love and healing (for example), objects that represent my power—shells, seawater, perfumes—and other elemental bits (stones, flowers) from places that have symbolic power to me (like I always include a stone I got from a fisherman's village in Italy, a trip that was life-defining for me).
At my altar, I always write notes to myself in the present, mostly for things I need or desire or hope for currently. I admit I turn to the altar in moments of desperation (like, say, when I feel particularly troubled, anxious or sick), but I frequently try to do this with each new moon as a way to sort of get all those jumbled thoughts out of my head, down onto paper (a huge part of my craft), and into the universe where they can manifest. This new moon, I asked for strength and clarity in dealing with my chronic illness.
It's also really liberating and fun to create something beautiful made up entirely of your own vision—a creative and cathartic practice that, in itself, is meditative and reflective of your unique selfhood.
Would you like to build an altar? Here's what you'll need:
- Objects that represent you (a book, a piece of your jewelry a piece of fabric sprayed with your perfume)
- A candle to burn as you focus on your intention
- Oils (I use Moon Goddess Magick Apothecary oils). I tend to dab a bit on my wrists and on my power objects)
- Elemental objects to strengthen your intentions (a bowl of water, dirt, sand, shells)
- A note, handwritten, with your intention or goal
- A mirror for self-gazing and reflection
- A photograph of you, if you have one or would like to use one
LISA MARIE BASILE is a poet, essayist and editor living in NYC. She studied English and psychology as an undergraduate at Pace University and received a Masters in writing from NYC’s The New School. She's the founding editor-in- chief of Luna Luna Magazine (an online magazine & community dedicated to literature, witchcraft, the arts, and women). She is the author of a few books of poetry: Apocryphal, war/lock, Triste, and Andalucia. Her book NYMPHOLEPSY (co-authored with Alyssa Morhardt-Goldstein) will be published by Inside the Castle in November 2018 and was a finalist in the 2017 Tarpaulin Sky Book Awards. She is working on her first novella, to be released by Clash Books in 2019. Her poetry can be heard narrating the Into The Veil event video by Atlas Obscura. Her work has been nominated for the Best American Experimental Writing anthology and for several Pushcart Prizes. Her work has appeared in the Cambridge Writers Workshop anthology and in Best Small Fictions 2015, selected by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Robert Olen Butler. Lisa Marie has been published in or syndicated by Refinery 29, Greatist, Bust, Bustle, Marie Claire, The Establishment, Hello Giggles, The Gloss, Ravishly, The Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, and more. Work is forthcoming in the New York Times, Narrartively and more. FOLLOW HER ON TWITTER & INSTAGRAM.
BY DINAH ALOBEID
Life is lived today on social platforms and via quick photographs. So why not slow down and get in touch with something greater? Moonbathing is a beautiful and unique way to commune with nature and the universe.
I was exposed to the ritual elements of moonbathing thanks to the book "Moon Spells: How to Use the Phases of the Moon to Get What You Want" earlier this year. The fact remains that throughout my many, many moons on earth prior to being exposed to any formal idea of moonbathing, I’d often found myself staring up at that hanging orb of wonderment. I’ve noticed that my breathing becomes more even when I glance up at the moon from the car, or during a subway ride. The moon is constantly changing, yet has a consistent quality. Anywhere we might be in the world, we can all look up at the same moon, albeit from a different angle. The moon’s changing phases are as consistent as they are rife with potential healing and soothing powers.
But what of moonbathing, you might ask. How does one go about preparing for a moon bath? What are the benefits?
Moonbathing is as it sounds—simple yet powerful beyond compare. I believe it is a widely unknown, untapped, free and rejuvenating activity done during any phase of the moon. Unlike with sunbathing, moonbathing has absolutely no negative effect on your skin or physicality and can be done anywhere where the moon is visible. In other words, absolutely anywhere in the world. It doesn’t even need to take place outdoors! All you need is a window to allow the moonlight to flood your space.
Cooling: Moonlight is the sun’s light reflected of earth’s lunar goddess. Its hue can be red-tinged, warm with sunset-streaked colors, or mysterious and vibey with violet undertones. No matter the time of year or the phase of the moon, the moon and the surrounding night darkness provides a cooling environment to offset hot summer days or stress-filled daytime interactions.
Energizing: The sun’s rays provide humans with energy and are a natural mood-lifter. I know the positive scientific effects and implications of sunlight. It provides us with much-needed vitamin D to keep our spirits and moods up, and is a key component to nurturing our plants and planet in such a direct, and beautiful way. But the cool night environment that comes with moonbathing offers a different kind of energy. A collective sigh for the soul, if you will, that allows us to slow down, relax, and contemplate in a steady way that is not based on fire-driven energy. I know for myself personally, with prominent pitta dosha makeup to my ayurvedic composition, cooling is a necessity for my fiery temperament and metabolic disposition.
Replenishing: Decreasing stress is a lifelong struggle for me, personally—and likely for you. Stress is an ingenious and wily entity, finding us no matter how hard we may try to hide. You can reflect, meditate, and do some internal nourishing through moonlight. It’s inherently relaxing—you don’t have to be anywhere at a certain time. You don’t have to pay a fee. You can be as disrobed as you want (in warmer months) or bask in the glow from the privacy and security of your home. Just set yourself up near a window where the moon is visible.
Transformative: Eclipses bring about major change in our lives whether we want to respect the solar impact or not. Not to mention the moon’s storied history across the world and the beliefs across many cultures, religions, which is seen to contribute directly to fluctuations in our personal lives, societal upheavals and of course the phases of plant growth.
The sacred feminine: Always aligned with the feminine, some of my friends and I tend to feel connected to the moon in ebbs and flow (pun intended). The power of the moon lies in the heart of the believer; it can be as strong or weak as importance you give to it. For me, a moonchild born under the sign of Cancer (whose ruling planet is the Moon) I feel an inexplicabe vibrational connectivity to all things lunar. For some, there is a draw to the moon that is on a psychic wavelength, a feeling that perhaps la lune is speaking directly to us. I often feel this way, trying to decipher what she’s trying to convey. Moonbathing is a direct path to communicating with the moon in whatever way you feel most comfortable.
Natural: The lunar cycle is directly linked to earth’s ocean tides, and throughout the entire history of humanity and across ancient and modern cultures, the moon has played a vitally important role in harvest, new beginnings, and decisionmaking. The phases of the moon provide a time-marking cycle of 28 days, and the different moons are aligned with seasons in an intriguing way. With full moon names driven from ancient cultures, such as the Harvest Moon and the Wolf Moon, it’s easy to see how the moon plays a major role in our lives. The moon gives us so much, without asking for anything in return. Moonbathing is the natural activity for individuals who want to absorb the moon’s energies and commune with nature in a way that does no harm, and does yourself a whole world of good.
Now I urge you—head outside and bathe in the moon’s light!
Dinah Alobeid is a writer and New York City native. By day, she's the director of communications for a tech company, but during the witching hours she's a writer dabbling in non-fiction, poetry, personal essay, fiction, and more. She blogs, she reads, she dances.
Dinah's work has been published in CureJoy, Blast Magazine, Rivertowns Enterprise News and more. Her poetry has appeared in Spectrum Literary Arts Magazine.
Halloween’s traditions come from the Pagan ritual of Samhain. Ghosts and demons are said to be able to break through and meet us on our plane of existence. In ancient times, costumes were worn and sweets were put out to shield us from the dead returned to life. It was believed that if the dead couldn’t recognize you, they couldn’t hurt you. Though the wigs, masks, and makeup we use to transform ourselves are fun, they are not just for decoration.Read More
BY LISA MARIE BASILE
I don’t care whether you believe it or not, the Scorpio exists. If it’s not a personality carved out by the celestial, then it is most certainly an archetype born out of real-life human beings, the kind—like me—that drinks, breathes and moves about attached to some chthonic place. We are the people who were born rummaging through the dark. We were the kids who weren’t like the others. We were the adults who realized our strangeness is actually power. Grew into our wings.
Scorpios, I’m talking to you here—but if you love someone who is a Scorp, it’ll benefit you too: It is like we cipher what we need from the darkness just in order to make it through the day. It could be that we drain a crowd of its mass energy—taking just a little bit from you there, and you there, and you over there so that no one aches for what went missing, or it could be that we consistently keep one foot in the otherworld, always dreaming, always obsessing, always plotting. It could be that we expertly speak the language of endings. Because we know endings mean something comes next.
Ruled by Pluto, lorded over by death and sex, we are intrinsically linked to the body—the body as sigil, the body as engine, the body as an immutable thing, and, of course, the body as a thing with an end-date. We can’t seem to ever really live here, on earth, in our town, in our houses, in our workplaces—because a part of us always off somewhere bent over in a corner, meddling, whispering, hiding, licking our wounds, or opening them.
Sure, for the secular among us, it could be that the zodiac is nothing more than a tool for suggestion. Like some view Tarot, for example, astrology provides a map for meditation—rather than being a stone-cold, steadfast, set-in-stone reality. (I mean, hello, "13 signs"—no Scorpio is going to fucking budge, no way). When you’re a scorp, you know it. It’s not like the Aquarius who says "Yes, I am eclectic!" or the Leo who chants, "Look upon me!" Or even the dreamy Pisces, who, like the three water signs (Scorp included) is also always attached to otherworlds. A Scorp is a Scorpio is a Scorpia. Even if you don’t want to be a Scorpio anymore, you’re stuck with us. Trying to hide it is akin to being drunk. You might be able to get around, but you’ll never feel quite right.
Scorp might even influence you if it’s in your chart or, say, your moon sign. Either way you know it. You can feel its pincer spread inside you. You can feel its poison push through you whether you want it or not. When Scorp has you, she has you. I can’t tell you differently.
So brings us to Halloween season—scorpio season. This time of year has always been magical for me (surprise, surprise). I was born November 3—right after all the beautiful festivities honoring the dead (were I to be a Halloween child, well, I curse the universe for failing me…). I’ve always felt most alive now, and with all the talk of Scorpio season, I feel at home, like I’m understood, like I’m seen—not just banished to the shadows of scorn and sex and wound and water and darkness.
But the scorpio is more than Scorpio season. And we’re more than the qualities we’re usually defined by. As sexy and intimidating and intoxicating as we seem, I believe that Scorp is, in equal measure, made from darkness and light. Capable of immense transformation and instrospection, this sign—and its wild season—is a time when we can confront the shadow and find good it in. Find a home in it. Become comfortable with our discomforts. Especially around loss, grief, fear, body, desires, and identity. Do not worry that this season will bring out your ghosts and leave you scared and haunted and overwhelmed—because you can harness all of that and use it to your benefit. (And just think: For some of us, it’s always Scorpio Season. If you don’t live in this place in perpetuity, consider yourself, well, lucky?).
But for just this season, transient and ending, you can indulge.
Some of the indulgence tips I include below are therapeutic in a very DIY way. I encourage you to seek professional help if you feel you need it, though. Working through your pain or grief on your own is one thing, but if you feel you need help, do ask for it. The Scorpio would want you to be good to yourself, even if she doesn’t always express it.
Here are some ways Scorpio Season can be curative—if you work it, rather than fear it.
1.Keep a shadow journal.
Here is where you’ll write down all those secrets, all those fears, all that loss, all those people you miss, all that pain. You want it out, and down. You want to sit with it, read it, accept it, and know that these secrets are safe (the scorpio is very secretive, which can make her sick). But mostly, being able to feel a little more comfortable with your wounds can actually lessen their sting.
2. Power your transformation.
If you want to be the person who stops showing up late, or the person who finally lets himself feel loved, or the person who wants to speak up when you think you ought to, scorpio season is the time to make those efforts. With scorpio’s intense transformative powers, this is the time to apply all that energy. You might here of scorpio’s death wish, but really it’s the fact that scorpio feels the need to transmorph, to kill a part of themselves off (give birth to another) and send it to the grave.
3. Talk to the dead.
Scorpio is the sign of the dead, sure. We all know that. And while that might mean Scorpios are busy walking that liminal space, it doesn’t mean you can’t join them. Whether the veils are literally or metaphorically open—because many people and Scorps are secular and don’t really believe this season is really a time of spirits—it’s still a good time to meet grief head-on. (Again, see note above around seeking professional help if you can’t move through grief on your own).
I like to write letters to my dead, sometimes I like to bury those letters, and sometimes I like to visit those graves or places where the dead are and just talk. I took part in something called Into the Veil a few weeks ago, where I recited poetry in a graveyard. The event was produced by Atlas Obscura, and was a truly death positive evening in that it allowed visitors to discover art and transformative ritual around death. The more we sit with it, the more we acknoelege it, the less power it holds over us—at least that’s the theory. It may be hard to stomach (for me, it was), but being surrounded by all those tombstones meant something: Life regenerates, life moves, life ends, memory lives, memories mean something, and that we ought to to live while we have the chance—live for our loved ones who cannot. Who didn’t get a long enough chance. This scorpio season, sit with the dead, or your dead, and just try to find a way to make peace. It’s probably different for all of us, that way, but it can yield beautiful results.
Lisa Marie Basile is the founding editor-in-chief and creative director of Luna Luna Magazine. She is also the moderator of its digital community.
Her work has appeared in The Establishment, Bustle, entropy, Bust, Hello Giggles, Marie Claire, Good Housekeeping, greatist, Cosmopolitan and The Huffington Post, among other sites. She is the author of Apocryphal (Noctuary Press), war/lock (Hyacinth Girl Press), Andalucia (The Poetry Society of New York) and Triste (Dancing Girl Press). her book, nympholepsy, was a finalist in the 2017 tarpaulin sky book awards.
Her work can be found in PANK, the Tin House blog, The Nervous Breakdown, The Huffington Post, Best American Poetry, PEN American Center, The Atlas Review, and tarpaulin sky, among others. She has taught or spoken at Brooklyn Brainery, Columbia University, New York University and Emerson College. Lisa Marie Basile holds an MFA from The New School. @lisamariebasile
To me, Elvira epitomizes the ultimate camp factor of Halloween in that she represents the juxtaposition of the holiday's, let's say expected, (high), goth motif paired with, let's say unexpected (low), happy-go-lucky personality.
She's a disrupter.Read More
Some movies get it right, though. These movies about witches have one thing in common: female characters who struggle with their inner demons; as they awaken to their powers, there are consequences. Thou shalt not suffer another excellent witch movie to be unseen, so break out the Absinthe and have some witchy fun!Read More
I’m not ready to walk back to the bed and breakfast with my boyfriend and spend time in silence. I want to be elsewhere when I already am somewhere else. I need something to think about besides the headaches that plague me since my mother’s death.Read More
BY ARCHITA MITTRA
I’ve always been surprised by the depiction of witches in pop culture—how they charm their hair and then go about their daily lives, without a drop in energy levels or a break. Magic seems so fluid, so immediate, working at the drop of a hat and requiring only a wand, a pentagram, and the chanting of a few words.
For a lot of us who identify as witches, magic and spellwork is an integral part of our lives. But performing a full-fledged banishing charm or even a purification ritual, complete with herbs and with all right colour-coded candles, takes up time and energy (and money!), and may even leave us exhausted.
Sometimes our hectic schedules and commitments prevent us from accessing our full potential every day. That’s when I realized I didn’t need to do an elaborate ritual or wait for the next full moon to manifest something. Our little everyday acts can be magic too—if done with the right intention.
Here are some ways in which you can make magic a part of your daily life, especially if you can’t seem to make time for it.
Keep A Multi-Purpose Grimoire
Your Grimoire or Book Of Shadows doesn’t need to be only a record of spells, sabbats and moon charts. I use the same notebook as a dream diary and a gratitude journal, and I make sure I write in it every morning when I wake up. If you’re feeling guilty about the many blank pages in your grimoire, you can use it to record your dreams and nightmares (for later analysis), as well as write down seven things you’re grateful for. It also provides a refreshing start to your day.
Charm Your Food And Drink
Whispering a few words of thankfulness before any meal can work wonders. Another trick I use is to stir my daily cup of coffee in a clockwise direction, while thinking of happy thoughts to charm my drink. (You can also stir anticlockwise to dispel negativity). I also make sure to stock up on my favourite comfort foods for the tough days. Rowling wasn’t kidding when she wrote about having chocolate to ward off the ill-effects of Dementors, after all.
Practice Simple Meditation Exercises
As I have to spend almost 2-3 hours every day on public transport while commuting to work or college, I try to use that interim time to do some simple meditation exercises (discreetly, of course), simply close my eyes and visualize a positive scenario or outcome, or even a shield of white light. It’s sure to make you feel optimistic, and may even bring in a few surprises to your day.
Make Quick Sigils And Spells
Confession: I simply love making sigils (a magical symbol). Maybe it’s because I’ve always been a creative person, but turning a positive affirmation to a beautiful design is also pretty therapeutic. I often end up doodling sigils in my notebooks during a boring lecture or fiddling with the painting apps on my phone to come up with something magical. And if you’re a witch who loves to work with technology, you can create emoji spells and send some good vibes to your loved ones, as well.
Spend Time With Nature
This doesn’t mean you have to surround yourself with greenery. Whether it’s saying thank you to the spirit of a tree, noticing the little things on the side of road or finding a beautiful feather on your path, there are many low-key ways to connect with nature and unwind. If it’s a full moon night and I’m too tired to do anything, I simply look up to the dark sky and talk to the moon. Sometimes, simply gazing into the starlit sky or enjoying the colors of the sunset is more than enough. I try my best to make sure I spend at least some time with my pets every day. If you have an animal, why not try communicating with them telepathetically?
Take A Magical Bath
I love buying and crafting beauty and bath products. You can make any bathing experience magical by dimming all the lights, lighting a few scented candles, mixing lavender and rose water to your bath, scattering some flower petals and tuning in to some music that feels meaningful to you (I prefer Celtic music). It is beautiful, relaxing and even rejuvenative.
Have A Sleep Ritual
Before going off to sleep, I reach for my pet amethyst rock and speak to it about the events of the day before tucking it under my pillow. I also make it a point to shuffle my Tarot cards and handmade runes set, asking a simple question: what is the most important lesson that I learned today? (Regarding morning rituals and magical timing: I used to also draw a Tarot Card each morning, but I stopped the practice because, well, an upside down Nine of Swords can seriously fuck up your mood for the day. So I made it a point to use my Oracles as tools of self-growth and self-discovery each night before sleep so that my subconscious can absorb and act upon it).
So if you’re feeling guilty about not being able to properly practice witchcraft, remember that it’s perfectly okay, and it’s perfectly normal. You can celebrate your craft in little every day acts by setting your mind to it and remaining positive. Perhaps everyday won’t be as lavish as Halloween, but hey, you can still make it magical.
Archita Mittra is a wordsmith and visual artist with a love for all things vintage and darkly fantastical. A student of English Literature at Jadavpur University, she also has a Diploma in Multimedia and Animation from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata. Her work has appeared or been profiled in The Statesman, Thought Catalog, Maudlin House, Winter Tangerine Review and elsewhere. She also serves as the Poetry Editor at Quail Bell Magazine, occasionally practises as a tarot card reader and is still waiting for The Doctor and his TARDIS to show up. You can follow her on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook() and check out her blog here.
Dreams are like music—you cannot explain what moves you or draws you to the melody. Dreams, like music, leave only an impression. Dreams are not the stuff of science or the intellect. Not any better or worse than waking reality, just different.Read More
Mary Shelley wasn’t a horror writer. She wasn’t exactly a science fiction writer, either. Labels did not exist in Mary Shelley’s time as definitive of the writer but as a descriptor of the individual work produced. A good horror story followed by a good family story only proved the author’s range of storytelling power. To categorize Mary Shelley as a horror writer is to only discuss a small portion of her genius.Read More
It is three a.m. My room is dark. I don’t move, barely breathe. What caused me to wake? When I glance at the red numbers glaring at me from the clock, I see her. A woman is standing in the corner of my room. I try to keep myself together. I don’t want it known that I’ve seen her. But I am too late. She knows.Read More
The publishers were generous enough to send me a copy of Wormwood Star: The Magickal Life Of Marjorie Cameron by Spencer Kansa to pore over and I could not have been more seduced by a book cover in my life than as I ripped open the package in frenzied anticipation. Marjorie Cameron’s hypnotic eyes starred back at me with such pull that I immediately dug into the pages.Read More
And then one morning you sawed me open, cutting your hand in the process. Blood swam in, and silver, and nothing was ever the same.Read More