BY LISA MARIE BASILE
As we move through #ScorpioSeason—and with it, celebrations like Halloween, All Saints Day, and Dia de los Muertos, we enter into the time of year between the autumn equinox & the winter solstice (here in the Northern part of the globe).
It’s a point of death and decay, change and discovery, when the gauzy veil parts and the obscure takes over. It’s when we visit our dead & our dead visit us (literally or not), & when we connect with whatever is beyond, establishing a link to both the darkness and the sacred unknown.
I have always felt a connection with darkness, the space between here and now. Between the perceived safety and the “dangerous” shadow. For so long I have felt not only a home in the dark—but too comfortable, almost naturally made of it. A safe space. I do not think this is a bad thing. I understand its liminality & language—and maybe you do too, either naturally or when you encounter a hardship or loss or trauma.
These darknesses carve out a space in our hearts, our wirings, and even our physiological responses. These things open up a gate, in us and elsewhere. It’s hard to ignore it—whatever your dark is—once it’s been opened. But that darkness isn’t simply an enemy; it can be a catalyst for healing.
Shadow work is about healing and encountering and reframing what hurt. For me, it’s largely about reframing my relationship with the dark, and making the liminality work for me. I believe it is an opportunity to transform, or cycle through transformations as needed, as I learned early from a mentor. It might take a while, or feel bumpy, but it can happen. Transformation isn’t linear, isn’t perfect, and it’s not always pleasant.
During Halloween, and during the entirety of scorpio season, that change comes more naturally. The gates are open; the winds of change whirl around us. Scorpio is the sign of transformation and regeneration, and so we may naturally feel inclined to shrug off what we don’t need and welcome what we desire. It is also the time to work through negative self-talk or journal about feelings of pain, shame, or fear.
You don’t have to believe any of this literally, either—it’s symbolic, if anything. The seasons shift, and there’s a wide, dark, open space ready for harvest.
During this time, I think back on when I was much younger in my teens, when I was in foster care. I always held the blaring sense that I was different, invisible, not enough. I heard the others gossiping about me and I longed to vanish, to be validated in my heartache. I pined for the traditional family unit with all the trappings that come with it. For many years I lived with shame and silence and anger, not realizing in those very differences was my entire world.
I eventually turned to shadow work to look those demons in the eye and find a way to live with them or eradicate them. To honor my light, despite the dark—and to honor my dark. To face and strike down the shame. Shadow work is the work we do to look into those feelings and internalized ideas to disassemble or rearrange them to bloom better things for ourselves.
My shadow work was always through writing and self-listening and even though I’m not perfect, I have been able to make peace with my past and turn that shame into pride.
Some of the things I did included:
Writing letters to my younger self, to heal her.
Writing out what hurts, or painful memories on a few slips of paper and then burying them in a box underground.
Using candle magic to illuminate feelings I was keeping buried; I’d sit on the ground and light a single candle for each feeling, letting myself sit with it and feel it.
Decide what I wanted my life to look like and take active steps to make it happen. I’d design a mood-board, light candles for manifestation at night, and journal about my goals.
I picked an archetype that inspired me and learned from her. Hecate is mine; goddess of necromancy and witchcraft, she leads the way through the dark and encourages me to face my shadows and find my inner power.
In my book, Light Magic for Dark Times, I share all of this, and more. I hope that those of you reading the book or those of you that are looking to pick up the book find some healing and opportunity in it. When reading it, you are the guide and you are in charge of the results.
Here are are a few of the things you’ll find in the book:
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🦂 🌑 As we come upon #ScorpioSeason—and with it, Halloween, All Saints Day, Dia de los Muertos—we enter into the time of year between the autumn equinox & the winter solstice (here in the Northern part of the globe). It’s a point of death and decay, change and discovery, when the gauzy veil parts and the obscure takes over. It’s when we visit our dead + our dead visit us (literally or no), & when we connect with whatever is beyond, establish a connection to both the darkness and the sacred unknown. For me, that connection is something I worked on for years—unlearning fear and resistance and working toward change. It’s listening to the earth, taking long walks among barren trees, lighting a candle at night for my dead, writing letters to those I’ve lost, and deciding how, when spring comes around again, I will bloom. What I will let go of and what I will grieve. What I will birth. . . Just as we are reminded of how the earth and our bodies die, a sort of other realm opens—one in which we feel connected, heard, held, alive. Peer into it. Most importantly, have FUN with it. Dance in the dark. Say “fuck off” to what doesn’t serve you. Go deep in that alter ego. Don’t take yourself too seriously if you don’t feel good about that. . . On page 120 in #LightMagicforDarkTimes, you’ll find a Santa Muerte Death & Rebirth Spell—one inspired by the magic of @lezacantoral, who offered this spell to the book🦇 please check out her work, her writing, and, of course — try the spell.
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🐛Chapter 4 is regeneration & recharge, which follows the chapter on negativity. I think this particular chapter and Shadow Work will be two of the most productive sections to use this autumn (I encourage you to skip around the book!). Because with all that going inward this autumn, you’ll need a way to lighten the load and find a balance. . . These chapters allow you to ruminate and release. To glance back and then create forward. Because sometimes we need to wade into the muck before we can clean house, proverbially. . . We must treat our space, our bodies, and the energy we keep around us sacred, as a garden; would you ignore it? Let it die? If yes, that’s okay. Everyone gets to a place where things fall apart; that’s one part of the cycle. But if you want to move through the weird, fun, intense, necessary process of shedding skin...this chapter is for you. 🐍 You do shed, you do change, you are natural, you are flora; you must be watered, you must see the sun. So while you are working through this chapter, be mindful of your body. Do you need to breathe, stretch, drink water? Be mindful of your energy levels. Do you need to send some color into your blood? Say yes to the little things that make you vibrate. Whatever that means to you. 🦋 . . The ouroboros (as is depicted in the chapter opener) has long been used as a symbol by many, many cultures—by alchemists and spiritual practitioners, symbolizing the natural processes of life and death, the eternal and immortal energies of the cosmos and the universe, the destruction and rebirth of the self, of nature’s cycles, Kundalini energy, the beautiful and constant journey and continuum. I love looking at the symbol knowing/trusting that whatever may come, time goes on and things continue and my body will be recycled and it will blossom again. But on an everyday, pragmatic level it also symbolizes that change and renewal is bound to happen—no matter what. We are constantly changing, moving through and emerging from ourselves. We are always regenerating and renewing🐍
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🌿 Last night I attended a panel called “What Is A Witch Without Her Coven?” and one of the many wonderful comments centered around how magic can be simple — mundane, really — taking a walk, taking a shower. This is one of the cornerstones of Light Magic for Dark Times, and it was wonderful to hear witches talk about this openly, the notion that witchcraft or a magical or intentional practice doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive or fancy or Instagramable. The reason isn’t that you’re lazy or unwilling to study or apply yourself — but that life can’t always accommodate ceremony or the elaborate. In chapter 8, Last Minute Light, I share lots of little ways to summon your inner magic. To step away and sit in a bathroom stall and ground yourself—especially useful in 9-5s or toxic jobs or spaces where getting a minute away or taking a breath is hard. If you’re struggling, just know that a minute + an intention + your breath is your power. 🌿
Lisa Marie Basile is the founding creative director of Luna Luna Magazine—a digital diary of literature, magical living and idea. She is the author of "Light Magic for Dark Times," a modern grimoire of inspired rituals and daily practices. She's also the author of a few poetry collections, including the forthcoming "Nympholepsy." Her work encounters the intersection of ritual and wellness, chronic illness, magic, overcoming trauma, and creativity, and she has written for The New York Times, Narratively, Grimoire Magazine, Sabat Magazine, The Establishment, Refinery 29, Bust, Hello Giggles, and more. Lisa Marie earned a Masters degree in Writing from The New School and studied literature and psychology as an undergraduate at Pace University.