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 STEPHANIE VALENTE
Rituals are especially important in our lives. Rituals are a marvelous tool for the self, for spell work, and best of all, for boosting confidence. Whether you know it or not, you can increase your self-love and confidence by making a few simple teaks and instilling some daily rituals to ground yourself and your magical life.
Here at 4 tips on gaining confidence with rituals. Don't just get satisfied, get satiated.
1. Establish a sacred morning routine. Every morning, you should have a practice that builds magic and confidence for you. This doesn't mean you have to get sky clad, light a bunch of candles, and embark on a multi-step, complicated process. Perhaps you pull a tarot card while making your tea, write a few morning pages, recite an affirmation, scream to death metal for a few moments, perform a thank-you spell, or meditate for five minutes.
Whatever morning rituals you embark on, do what works for you. There are no rules. What's best of all is that you test out a few rituals, keep what works, and shed what doesn't.
2. Do ritual self-care in spare minutes or moments. You should treat yourself to self-care several times a day. My favorite rituals are small and sacred moments, like taking a ten minute walk in my neighborhood, cleaning my skin and applying moisturizer every morning, playing with my dog before bedtime, reading one short story or poem a day, stretching at your lunch break for five minutes.
In fact, I believe that the smaller or more actionable the ritual, the easier it is to do every day or more than once a day, like say, checking in with two friends every day for a 10 minute call each. If you can do a ritual in two minutes or less, why not make it a part of your everyday routine?
Agent Cooper from Twin Peaks said it best: "I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don't plan it, don't wait for it, just let it happen. It could be a new shirt at the men's store, a catnap in your office chair or two cups of good hot black coffee."
Just let it happen.
3. Be honest with yourself. Keep a journal, log your rituals even, and of course, set boundaries. Rituals should be natural, fun, and inviting. Dropping your mail in the post office box can be a ritual, buying a newspaper before your work commute is a ritual, baking cookies every Tuesday night is a ritual, chatting with your elderly neighbor every night when you get home from work is ritual, volunteering your time once a week is a ritual.
If a ritual feels stressful or obligatory, stop. Of course, we have to pay bills, go to work, talk to coworkers and relatives. But if something is stressful, look at the root. Is it how the event or task is performed? Adding a ritual to your boundaries or creating boundaries with rituals will make you feel more whole and confident.
4. Carry a special object or wear an essential oil that has meaning just for you. For me, I carry a small sliver of rose quartz in my bag to remind myself that I am loved and have love for the world and its inhabitants around me. The more love I feel and see, the more I give, and the more I look for. From this ritual, I see less negativity in me and the world around me.
I also carry a teeny tiny medallion of Mary in my coin purse because I felt so strongly about the object when I first saw it. I'm not sure what else it means yet, because it's a ritual I've slowly started working on since I found the object two months ago.
Piggybacking on this thinking, I often wear essential oils on my neck, clavicle, and wrists. The act of dabbing on the scented oil feels so glamorous to me (like a classic film!), but the scents also make me feel powerful. One of my personal favorite oils is Witch Queen from Catland. You can recreate this ritual with an oil you already have, a perfume you adore, or you can make your own.
Stephanie Valente lives in Brooklyn, NY. She is a Young Adult novelist, short fiction writer, poet, editor, content & social media strategist. In short, she wears many hats. Especially if they have feathers. Some of her writing has appeared in Bust Magazine, Electric Cereal, Prick of the Spindle, The 22 Magazine, Danse Macabre, Uphook Press, Literary Orphans, Nano Fiction, and more. She has provided content strategy, copy, blogging, editing, & social media for per’fekt cosmetics, Anna Sui, Agent Provocateur, Patricia Field, Hue, Montagne Jeunesse, Bust Magazine, Kensie, Web100, Oasap, Quiz, Popsugar, among others.
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 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.
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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.
BY LISA MARIE BASILE
Midsummer(during the summer solstice), is here, you lovelies. This is such a glorious time of year for everyone here in the Northwestern Hemisphere – everything we worked through during the long winter and Spring is now behind us, and we can use the rejuvenating days of summer to prepare, build on or resurrect something – whether that is a material or tangible thing or an idea, mindset or self-healing path.
This year's strawberry moon (or rose moon, as I prefer calling it) makes Midsummer even more glorious, and even more potent. There are so many things we can do to commemorate this time of year – to tap into nature and yourself.