And crafting scent, as perfumer Claire Baxter proclaims on her website, is an aromatic art. Claire is the founder behind the Texas-based fragrance shop, Sixteen92. Taking its name from the year of Salem Witch Trials, Sixteen92 crafts small batch fine fragrances inspired by literature, lore, and history.Read More
“I think that the most feminist thing you can do in life is to not let other people (unsolicited) tell you how to present yourself to the world. “Read More
INTERVIEW BY LISA MARIE BASILE
LMB: You’re a poet, a writer, a witch, a reading series host, and (as of this summer!) a magical workshop instructor! Can you tell me a little bit about your background in both writing and magic, and how they intersect for you?
AT: I think I've sort of always been both a witch and a writer, since before I understood the terms and knew how to put the work and effort into each practice. I've been storytelling since early childhood and writing/performing poetry since age 10. As for witchcraft, I'd felt alignment with the identity for as long as I can remember. The first Halloween costume I chose for myself was the Wicked Witch of the West. I thought she was remarkably powerful and I wanted to feel that, to mimic and evoke it.
As I got older, the practice of writing down ideas for spells, tarot spreads, important moments, dreams, etc - that ends up becoming one's Book of Shadows, but I don't separate mine from my everyday notebook. To me, the practice of writing down the beginning of a poem, and in the next moment, writing my errands for the day, and in the next moment, recording my ideas for a new moon ritual - it's all from the same place. It all comes back to memory, practice, and ritual.
You’re identify with the Strega. Can you tell me a little bit about how Italian folk magic and your Mediterranean/Italian heritage finds its way into your practice?
When I first started "studying" witchcraft, ie, trying out first spells and rituals that were found in actual sources other than my imagination, I studied Wicca because that was the information available to me at that time. It didn't all resonate with me, to be honest. When I started talking to the women in my family about Stregheria, and started hunting down the scarce resources about Italian folk magic, it all made sense to me, how you can incorporate spellwork into everyday kitchen work, or how you can read your dreams for meaning, or how you don't have to set up a sacred, untouchable alter to work your magic.
My great-grandmother was a Sicilian Strega whose "specialty" (many of the local Streghe had their "thing" that they did best, as it's been explained to me) was taking the malocchio, or the Evil Eye, off of people with a folk magic ritual. When I started studying that, and really digging deeper into these practices, it started to make more sense to me than the Wicca I had explored previously.
I identify with Strega magic because there's a lot of room for everyday intuition, and that works for me. It's about much more than just my Italian-American upbringing, though, because I'm a total mix. My mother's family is mostly English, so some of the Wiccan beliefs really align with that part of my heritage.
On my father's side, we're Italian and Lebanese and there were students of Alchemy in the Lebanese side so in a way, I feel born into many magical traditions. But I chose the one that spoke to me the clearest and the loudest, which is what I think every curious person should do.
Also: did you read and fucking LOVE Strega Nona as a child? I know I read that book a hundred times and it’s basically why I am who I am these days.
You know, I didn't read that book until I was an adult! I feel like I really missed out, haha.
You’re teaching a series of classes in nyc at Word Bookstore in Brooklyn this summer on tarot, astrology, and ritual! I’m so excited! Can you tell me more about the classes & about the way YOU approach magic?
Thank you! When I was approached by WORD, they asked me to teach some Witchy 101 classes which really made me examine my practice and my belief system, for sure. I had to break down the elements of what goes into my magic life and think about the connections and stories and education behind them. My studied understanding of the esoteric realm started in seventh grade, when I stole a gigantic book, Zolar's Astrology, and gobbled down like 1,000 pages of info and started telling everyone about themselves astrologically. At the time, it was a way for me to understand and categorize the world a little easier. It was insight into the human condition, which is the focus of much of my work - helping others through astrology, tarot, ritual, and self-care.
The astrology workshop will show people how to make and interpret the basics of their natal charts, since our zodiac signs are so much more than just our sun signs. Toward the end of the class, I'll discuss astrology across the magic spectrum, like for instance how it can change the way you read tarot cards. That will lead us into the second workshop of Tarot, where I'll discuss ideas for making the cards work for the individual reader. While there are some hard and fast rules in Tarot, I think there's a lot more room for intuition and the art of natural storytelling than some may think. I've always approached my readings as a writer and an author, like here are these ancient plot points being laid out for you - what's the story, what's the lesson, what's the theme, what's the message?
At the end of this workshop, we'll discuss other ways to use Tarot, like for instance in ritual, which leads us to the final workshop. In the Ritual discussion, I really want to give people permission to practice in a way that works for them, and not worry about setting up some expensive altar based on something they read in a book.
There are SO many fun, creative ways to create your space and figure out what works for you, and I love talking to people about their ideas here. For example, growing up, I assumed that to really perform a moon ritual, you had to be outdoors with your coven, skyclad (witchspeak for "naked") and dancing around a fire, and that simply doesn't work for most modern witches, especially us city-folk witches. So I'm looking so forward to bringing in elements of my altar and sharing them, and having a real conversation about practice, ritual, and sacred spaces that can create for ourselves.
What are your thoughts on the burgeoning popularity of witchcraft? I think we both agree more magic and positivity and autonomy is a GOOD thing—so I’m interested in your perspective as a long time practitioner.
You know, I think I aligned with witches at a young age, because their other-ness and power both spoke to me. I was always a bit of a weirdo and an outcast, so witchcraft made sense to me. Seeing the popular kids take it over and makee it cool and mainstream was a little off-putting at first, I'll be honest, but that was just a knee-jerk ego-speak reaction on my part.
The fact that more people are aligning themselves with witchcraft and ritual and interdependence and intersectionality - we need more of that in the world. So I don't care if you just bought your first Rose Quartz because it made a pretty Instagram post - go get it, friend. Make it meaningful if you want to and if you can, and if not, that doesn't take away from my practice one bit. Witches who want to quiz you on how serious you are, what coven you belong to, who initiated you, what order you belong to: that reeks of hierarchal bullshit and elitism to me. Even being a natural Slytherin, I just can't hang with that attitude, haha.
I couldn't agree more. We shouldn't judge, gate-keep, or assume everyone is going to approach magic in the same way!
So, what books are you reading right now?
I read a lot for place and mood and I'm a total Summer Baby so I've been on a roll with reading books about the ocean. I just finished Ocean Sea, a gorgeous magical realist tale, by the Italian author Alessandro Barrico. I'm currently finishing up the abso-bloody-lutely brilliant novel The Pisces by Melissa Broder (which is so deliciously dirty - it's been fun to spy people reading it on the Subway because I'm like oooooh, what part are you reading right now?)
Lastly, I'm digging deep into Practical Magic: A Beginner's Guide to Crystals, Horoscopes, Psychics, and Spells by Nikki Van De Car because we'll be discussing that in the WORD Workshops. It was so hard to choose JUST ONE book, but I think this guide is a beautifully un-intimidating place to start.
So, what is your birth chart like? How do you think the zodiac actually has a hand in our lives?
Whew boy, this is a big question and a big answer. I feel like there are sort of two types of people here, the ones who say, "Astrology could never be real," and the other camp who are like, "You're SUCH a Sag rising," haha. The thing is, Astrology is really hard to defend, right? How could the alignment of the stars affect our personalities and paths in life? The tough answer is that I'm not totally sure, to be honest, but I also don't need a scientific basis for every single aspect of my life.
What I know is that after years of exploring astrology charts with people, I've seen way way way too much interesting coincidence and important metaphor and meaningful symbolism to every be able to completely deny it. I think Astrology is a fascinating way to gain insight into who we all are and what we're all working with. It helps us understand our strengths and weaknesses, our attractions, our patterns of behavior, our shadow selves.
For me, I'm a Cancer/Leo cusp, and that water/fire split goes down most of my chart and really makes sense to me. I'm a Rising Sagittarius (fire) and Pisces Moon (water.) It basically makes me a textbook ambivert. I have no stage fright but don't do well at a get-together with a few people if I'm not close with all of them, haha. My water side makes me deeply empathetic, intuitive, and moody af. The fire side keeps me performing, laughing, taking risks and chances, and kicks me in the ass when I get too far in my own head.
What a GREAT combo you've got going on there (says the skulking, moody Scorpio with a Cancer moon). I love that you've got that water/fire duality!
So, you’re a tarot reader (and a wonderful one!). How do you approach tarot? How do you think creatives can use the tarot?
Thank you, Lisa, you're too kind. Tarot for me is a way in which we deal with universal messages. The cards themselves speak to many ideas of universality, from Jungian Collective Unconscious to the beats in a novel's plot, from common dream symbols to astrological alignment.
When I read for people, I tend to focus less on the fortune-telling aspect of it and more on the actions that have brought the querent to this moment in time. What patterns are at work, what forces are blocking us, how can we best approach this issue or problem with the tools we have in front of us? With that mindset, you can use the tarot to help you write your way out of a block, or perhaps understand what your dreams have been trying to communicate to you, or of course why perhaps you're crushing on someone who isn't reciprocating. When you loosen up the strict Tarot rules, you find uses in them for everything from spellwork to finding your next poem.
How does magic intersect with our social and political climate right now? I’m interested in your ideas on hexing Trump and self care rituals?
Being a witch has always aligned deeply, for me, with feminism, intersectionality, and putting power in the hands of the marginalized. Witches, historically, were often women healers that provided care outside of institutional patriarchy and that history resonates with me in a hugely meaningful way. The people historically accused of witchcraft were mostly women of questionable status: the unmarried, the lower-income, the other-ed in terms of color, gender, sexuality, etc. I think in particular, that young folks who are today's marginalized people - LGBTQ, POC, women - end up being attracted to witchcraft as a way of harnessing a power that's been denied to us.
That being said, do I want to hex Trump? Uh, of course I do. But I wouldn't and I won't. Hexing feels extraordinarily dangerous and irresponsible to me. I use my magic to help others and myself. I don't call myself a "white witch" because I definitely embrace the darkness within and believe in expression of that darkness, but hexing is something more than that, and it's not a place I choose to go. I don't know that it's possible to poison someone spiritually without taking it some of it yourself, too. That's the only way I know how to explain that, which may not make much sense, I'm sorry.
As for self-care rituals, I wish that every person out there could find what restores them physically, emotionally, and spiritually and put it into practice.
Time for the hard-hitting question: Which Hogwarts house are you, most importantly?
I'm such a goddamn Slytherin. It took me a while to be comfortable with that but now I'm proud. I definitely don't have the elitist attitude shared by many Slytherin, but that dark energy has my name written all over it, haha.
SLYTHERIN 4 LIFE.
How can people sign up for your courses this summer?
Folks can sign up through WORD's site right here.
BY LISA MARIE BASILE
There is a young girl named Jolene.
She’s got violent blonde hair and eyes too clear to be trusted. Pretty and vicious by 12, Jolene trained a whole pack of followers to move 10 paces behind her, their mouths open and drooling.
Jolene and her pets are sitting behind me in gym class kicking my lower back, which is covered in a soft spill of dark Mediterranean hair. [Lovers today call it beautiful.] I’m so quiet I barely exist. I’m wearing cheap sneakers my grandmother picked up at the church flea market she sells nail polish at on weekends.
My sneakers are white and goofy and too heavy; I look like a twig in them, the tongue heaving over my tiny ankles. I’m supposed to be wearing the Filas everyone else has. I’m supposed to be everyone else.
From where I sit or hide or cower, it seems like everyone else has dinner at home at 6. Has school photos. Has all of the other accouterments of a teenage palace of cruelty. Popularity is my Queen but I won't sit on my knees at her ugly throne. I am daggers. I am full of poverty and mouths sewn shut. I am instead the town seer. I see the mediocrity of youth that will bleed into adulthood. Sometimes I still want to be mediocre. I want to be loved.
By 6 I’m at home alone with my brother, half my age, wondering where my mother is. Sometimes we walk a mile to my grandmother’s senior citizen center where she says those girls are just jealous. I say, but grandma—they’re pretty. You’re pretty, she says. Pretty girls are jealous of pretty girls.
I am raised in a land where pretty is economy. Where being a young girl means fitting into easy sentences and rules. I put on the FM radio in the bathroom and Nair my lower back. Which only makes Jolene siphon more of me, more of my weakness. I remove my body, my hair; I remove myself.
I want to be like Jolene and her pack but I’m not like them. On my head, I have black hair that gives no fucks. When it rains my hair grows fangs. I’m poor and my clothes smell like the local laundromat. Gin and dust and metallic-something—something like something I’m not supposed to smell like.
Jolene says it’s old people I smell like. I laugh stupidly and awkwardly, boldly, in her face, but I know it. I sleep at my grandmother’s tiny apartment a lot. I cry often into her shoulder; between us, there is a silent question blooming; why is her daughter—my mother—not coming home? She braids my hair, paints my nails, goes to bed early.
I sit up alone for hours perched at the window waiting for my mother to come home. To bide the time, I pull out two books: a 1970s pictorial on covens and sex magic and a book of spells, it’s Wiccan, made for teens, I think—I’ve wrapped both in the dust cover of other books, although I know my mother wouldn’t care if she caught me, but I was raised Catholic and am embedded with a certain fear of the devil consuming my soul for all eternity—and I read them quietly to myself, believing in my whole wide heart that magic was swirling out there, ready to be captured, pocketed, possibly brought to middle school.
I want to wear the capes. I want to draw a Pentagram. I want to understand what I’m reading and become all-powerful. At first, sadness drives me toward ritual, but then I take flight on my own.
Behind my grandmother’s house, behind three huge dumpsters, there is a very, very green sort of open space. Fences surround it and separate it from neighboring backyards and they’re covered in ivy. This green leads down to the local river—Rahway River in New Jersey—which is filled with tiny, people-sized islands and moves through the town, circling through neighborhoods where people have given up on themselves. My whole town is broken. Everyone either dies or is dying or hooked on drugs, and all of us kids have either taken on one of two protective stances: be the bully or be bullied. It depends on your heart; sometimes I hate my heart.
Even if some of us come from decent homes, there is always something rotten in this town. Always a secret. A disguise. An animal searching through the wood. No one is untouched.
I tiptoe to the edge of the river and look down into the rocks. My feet get muddy, I smell the earth; copper, moss, summer water. Across from me—at this point the river is hallow, trickling, maybe 100 feet across, dotted by a shower of flat stones—is the back of three stores: a glass shop, a small pub, a dilapidated house. No one can see me, so I step further toward the water and sit at the edge. I wonder what they would think of they catch me.
My book says I need to look for the mushrooms—that’s where the faeries live. I could maybe befriend them but don’t expect them to be kind, exactly. I could maybe ask them to be my friends.
My book talks about drawing down the moon. I stand in the middle of the green, at times glimpsing behind me hoping my grandmother won’t come out and see me, and call on the sky. I open my palms and stand quietly, feeling the power of the earth rise up through and into me. I look into the shadows of my life and find peace knowing I always have myself, these green places, this water.
I have nothing to distract me. No phone, no real friends, no curfew, no Internet. I only have the earth and the sound of water pulsating. If I close my eyes I can hear my own heartbeat.
I whisper into the blue air, "Please protect my mother." The wind moves; she takes my request.
By twenty-five I struggle with my beliefs. It’s not that I don’t believe in anything, it’s that nothing makes sense. Something is out there, I think. I call myself a staunch atheist; I mostly am.
I won’t meet my lovers or my mother in the afterlife. I won’t be consumed by fire. I won’t reincarnate, I think. But I might just evaporate into the mist of the cosmos, become starlight or a patch of bugambilias. My dying body will be the universe exhaling; it’s exhaled a million times today. The world gets bigger, smaller, bigger, smaller. And it means everything and nothing at all.
I find the word "witch" again and again. She follows me in and out of my life. I find myself always standing at the riverbank or wading through the sea, piling aside my sorrow. I find myself washing my hands in blessed rose water. I find myself in dark rooms, in a circle, pulling something out from my chest and putting it into existence. I create rituals I don’t talk about, fearing I’ll be misunderstood.
If I am seen as a witch, I am seen as other. Rebel, dreamer, enchantress, want-er of things bigger. Want-er of more. Maker of light. Purveyor of shadow.
If I am seen as a witch, I’ll be classified, boxed-up, differentiated.
If I am seen as a witch, I won’t get a job or be taken seriously. I won’t be seen as rational. I won’t be seen as me.
And yet, if I am seen as a witch, I’ll be seen for what I am. I’ll be seen as someone who respects nature, respects myself, respects my body. I’ll be seen as someone who resists the complacency of the status quo. I’ll be seen as someone who resists acts of warfare against other humans. I’ll be seen as someone who questions simple answers and seeks something deeper. I’ll be seen as someone who wants to create a life of intention and autonomy. I’ll be seen as someone who, when the palace of night washes over my life, will be able to strike a match in the dark. I do dream. I do rebel. I do exist as a natural thing. I am not separate from the earth. I am not a cog. I am not a mime. I am tending to a careful garden where, throughout time, others have come and gone, tinkering in the magic of self.
A witch is born of trauma. A witch is born of solitude. A witch is born of watching. A witch is born of listening. A witch is born of light.
Lisa Marie Basile is a writer and founding creative director of Luna Luna Magazine—a diary of darkness and light, literature, identity, and magic. Her book of rituals and practices, LIGHT MAGIC FOR DARK TIMES, will be released in September 2018. She has written for The New York Times, Narratively, Grimoire Magazine, Venefica, The Establishment, Refinery 29, Bust, Hello Giggles, and more. She's also the author of a few poetry collections, including the forthcoming Nympholepsy.
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.
Sian Ferguson is a full-time freelance writer based in South Africa. Her work has been featured on various sites, including Ravishly, MassRoots, Matador Network and more. She’s particularly interested in writing about queer issues, misogyny, healing after sexual trauma and rape culture. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram. Read her articles here.Read More
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BY MOXIE MCMURDER
Joint in one hand, black magic in the other. I am a weed witch, The High Priestess of Smoke. Guardian of the unconscious, practitioner of the unexpected.
Be still and know that I am free.
Born of the earth and sky, conjuring magick from the smoke.
I welcome you my sisters and brothers to a new way to enjoy your sins:
Weed Magick, a blend of witchcraft and marijuana.
How you choose to use this magick is up to you but be warned, what you put out into the universe will come back to you. Smoking the holy herb is a spiritual act, one that puts you in touch with the four elements and when practised correctly can lift the veil reveal and nature's secrets.
Collect your necessities
Small bowl of water
Small bowl of salt
It’s important for a witch to be in the right state of body and mind before performing a spell. Make sure you won’t be distracted. Turn off your phone/TV etc although some music can actually help you get into the frame of mind for casting.
Start the circle. You need space to work in, so we create a circle. There is no need to have a physical circle to work within, however it is worthwhile to have a dedicated place where you can practice your craft. Creating your own altar is a simple and effective way to create a space for you to work in.
If you wish, you may call on the divine or or certain energies to watch over and bless your rite. These are usually connected to the elements earth, air, water and fire. A circle contains the energy of your spell until you are ready to release it. Energy can be released through burning papers or herbs, visualization, or gestures. With intention and power, send the energy toward your goal.
The first step is to grind your weed with intention. If you don’t have a grinder, get one! You may want to bless your weed before you start. Here is an old blessing that you can use.
“From earth to air, and here to there
I grind you fine, with love and care
Through pestle to essence, here I sow
From whole to powder, on mortar you go
Round and round, may your power grow
Continue to let your energy flow”
Imagine you are grinding away any negativity, bad thoughts leaving your positive and ready to work your magick.
You may want to write something with a pencil on your rolling papers. A name, a destination or even just words like positivity, strength etc
As you crumble the herb into your paper repeat a mantra as you focus your energy.
You can create your own incantation, which usually works better than using another witch's words but you can adapt or use the one provided below:
I smoke of my sisters and brothers in the light of the high. The ancient and the new. I light from the flame with pure intention, self love and power.
You must always light a joint from a candle. (The colour of which should correspond to the spell you are casting.)
Here is a quick list of colours and what they represent:
Black: Used in rituals to induce a deep meditational state, to protect and/or to ward off negativity. Can be used to banish evil or negativity.
Blue: The primary spiritual color It’s used to obtain wisdom, harmony, inner light, or peace; truth and guidance. Other uses include healing, sleep, creativity, perception, calming wisdom, truth, loyalty, dreams, and the examination of emotions.
Green: Promotes prosperity, fertility, and success. Stimulates good luck, harmony, and rejuvenation. Also represents Healing, health, and growth.
Purple: Is used to obtain desires, power and success. Stimulates enthusiasm, desire and power. Some attempt to use it for power over others.
Red: Represents physical pleasures. It can stimulate lust, courage, or strength against enemies. Can confer passion, love, and/or respect. Stimulates energy, health, fertility and will power.
White: Protectection, purify, and heal. Represents truth, unity, protection, peace, purification, happiness, and spirituality. Some say it can be used to replace any color candle in rituals. Used for concentration rituals and meditation work.
The best time to cast a spell
You can cast a weed spell any time you like but spells are more powerful when they are cast during certain moon phases.
If you can, smoking outside under the moon is the best way to let the lunar energy add a bit of strength to your magick.
You can, of course, perform weed magick during the day, being outdoors is best but if you are indoors make sure your curtains are pulled back and open. Let the sun's energy lend itself to your craft.
As you smoke focus your mind on what you want to achieve with this magick. Enjoy the sensation of the smoke filling your body, allow it to make you feel at peace, powerful and in touch with the elements.
Ending the ritual
One your joint is down to the end it’s time to close the circle. Add the bowl of salt to the bowl of water and repeat “The circle is open, but never broken. By the powers above, and the powers below, I close this circle” then drop your roach into the salt water mix. Your weed ritual is over.
Sky above, earth below, smoke within.
Moxie McMurder is a film critic for Welwyn Garden City and keeps a blog here.
Magick comes from the power within, but to access that power you must open yourself to nature, to intimate connection, to vulnerability.
BY EMILY NEIE
I was drawn to magick because I believed in myself. The idea that I needed to rely on an ethereal, probably-not-real deity to guide me and plan out my destiny seemed absolutely absurd. I had a good head on my shoulders, I did well in school, I had a clear vision for my life, and I was perfectly capable of making my own decisions.
At church, I felt the most spiritual when I was soul-searching and building my own self-confidence. It's a feeling that a lot of other people interpret as God, or the spirit, or whatever else you'd like to call it, but it's hard for me to see it that way—I believe in me, my humanity, my own consciousness. My vision and drive comes from within, not from a desire to end up in heaven or paradise. I am perfectly happy and motivated to make the most of my life and to put good energy out into the universe before my world fades to black simply because I feel that is the right thing to do, not because there will be a reward in the afterlife.
I often laugh at myself for seeking out magick and witchcraft, because my independence is what most often prevents me from connecting deeply to my magick. Magick is full of paradoxes, and this is probably the biggest one: your magick comes from the power within, but to access that power you must open yourself to nature, to intimate connection, to vulnerability.
Even if you believe your magick comes from a connection to a deity like the Goddess, you have to break down emotional barriers around your soul in order for that power to inhabit you. Those of us who sought out magick because it meant we didn't have to rely on a God or a church find ourselves in an especially sticky predicament: once you strip away the walls of the Church, you're left with the walls inside yourself.
Being a witch is an essentially solitary thing. Even in a coven, you spend a lot of time practicing on your own. You cast spells alone, perform rituals alone, create glamours alone, hunt for treasures and supplies alone. So much of magick demands our undivided attention and separates us from more socially accepted religious circles. At my old youth group, setting a visual example for others was huge. We were constantly in groups, watching how we prayed.
"This girl has her eyes closed and her hands raised in the air...she must be feeling this more than I am" is an ACTUAL thought that crossed my mind. More than once. I can't help but look back and feel that we were acting for each other, trying to use our bodies and words to be the most-holy, aka holier than the rest of you.
It felt good to pray together, in groups, because I'm naturally drawn to community, but my actions and beliefs felt forced. Many religions create community, but magick cuts deeper than the superficial emotional fluff that singing songs around a retreat campfire creates. Witches don't often get the emotional fluff. Witches spend most of our time digging into our own neuroses, our inhibitions, our insecurities, to find substance and fodder for our magick.
I build walls. I am convinced that in a former life I lived somewhere out in the woods, and didn't talk to anything but rabbits for 30 years. I am quite social and happy to be around people, but I often feel like I am simply performing emotions because it's what will best suit the situation and person I am talking to. I get feedback all the time that I come across as perfectly poised, prepared to take on any challenge, and relatively knowledgeable and capable of handling anything that comes my way.
While those traits are excellent for business and career building, they completely stunt my journey to magick. Magick is performed, but not performative. Magick can see through your bullshit, see when you don't really connect with a spell you're casting, see when you're just setting up your altar or reading tarot cards for the aesthetic qualities. I love Instagram. I live for aesthetic. I constantly battle these sides of myself in my journey to know myself and strengthen my practice.
Magick isn't supposed to look a certain way. It doesn't have picture-perfect moments that need to be captured in order to be validated. I am an anxious perfectionist who dreads the moment when people catch my mistakes or shortcomings, and magick bombards me with these things all the time. It is a necessary struggle, and the breaking down of my pretension is what will build me into a truly magickal witch one day.
A couple weeks ago a friend called me "magickal" in a completely serious way, and I cried. It meant so much that I was finally able to inhabit my magick in a way that outwardly presented itself as part of my being. I'll probably always have the right words for most situations, and people may always view me as the responsible, collected Capricorn that I've always been.
My hope is that one day I start hearing people call me "genuine," too. And that I will always access that strength – the strength of the genuine – in my craft.
Emily Neie is a secular witch living and practicing magick in Austin, TX. She survives the demands of corporate professionalism by walking her dog, picking up rocks and feathers, and blogging at her magick blog, The Literateur.
Witches are not consumeristic; to be a witch is not to be diseased, or infected. So what makes them so relatable? Why the craze?
BY KAILEY TEDESCO
For most of my life, I’ve found myself defining generations by the supernatural creatures that surround them. High school was hands-down the era of vampires, and college was the zeitgeist of zombies. It always begins with a cultish art form: the publication of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight, or Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead comic books, respectively. The interest in such works slowly breeds fan-fictions and blog posts among niche audiences. Soon Hot Topic brand “I Run with Vampires” t-shirts become available (which I, uh, totally do not own) and mainstream films cash in on the craze. Before you know it, your fave monsters are mainstream. And now, in the latter half of the 2010’s, it seems to be the season of the witch.
The entities we follow and often fetishize always carry moral and political philosophies. Vampires and zombies are consumers; the former is simply sexualized while the latter is not. At some basal level, we as viewers, can relate to brainless walkers and lusty vamps and understand that their general fate is in some way realistic. Who hasn’t walked aimlessly around Target for two hours, sipping a latte and staring blankly at their phone screen? Now, as witches infiltrate underground and mainstream media new questions arise. Witches are not consumeristic; to be a witch is not to be diseased, or infected. So what makes them so relatable? Why the craze?
We, in reality, can very plausibly choose to be a witch at any time. This choice is equally represented and enforced within the media. Television shows like the once again popularized Buffy the Vampire Slayer show women coming upon witchcraft the way one might come of age. It’s a natural progression where a woman first finds a spellbook, and then delves deeper into magicks until a new understanding or self-awareness is achieved. My Instagram account is flooded with woman much like Willow Rosenberg, the main witch of BTVS, who are strong-willed and fantastic. Divination is now a mainstream party game and crystal healing can be as quotidian as popping a Tylenol. The ultimate gain of these practices stems, I believe, from a sense of community. Whether the practitioner is Wiccan, a long-time witchcraft enthusiast, or simply someone who had their tarot read once on the pier, there is a new sense of camaraderie and cultish understanding among these witchy women.
The interest in New Age practices and aesthetics extends far beyond spiritual belief. You don’t have to label yourself a witch to partake in the culture; it’s everywhere. For example, if I wanted a flowy, midwife inspired skirt five years ago I’d have to order from my Pyramid Collection catalog, or travel to Salem, MA. Now, “witchy” fashion is trending in what seems to be an amalgamation of pre-existing festival aesthetics mixed with subdued Victoriana. If you scroll through any look-book, you’ll surely find the bell sleeved, choker-clad beauties that you can easily picture hunched over a herb garden.
The contemporary film and performance industry has taken full advantage of such trends. In many cases, revitalization of former witch narratives have become extremely popular. Robert Egger’s newly released film The Witch offers a revisionist look at Winthrop era society. Likewise, Broadway has just released a slightly modernized version of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible with A-list stars like Saoirse Ronan and Tavi Gevinson. As mentioned before, television shows like Charmed and Buffy the Vampire Slayer are resurfacing, while films such as Practical Magic and The Craft are becoming more culturally relevant as well.
In each of these pieces, we are presented with what might superficially look like an outdated dichotomy: the good witch and the bad witch. For example, the aforementioned Willow Rosenberg would easily be considered a “good witch.” In other words, her actions stem from a place of love. However, her personal emotions often cloud her judgment causing her to act irrationally. A major consideration in Willow’s narrative is how much power one can ethically maintain over another. Conversely, Nancy Downs from The Craft uses her power in order to justify her own hatred and insecurities -- a classic portrayal of the “bad witch.” However, the witch’s relevance in today’s culture deconstructs that dichotomy entirely by positing that it never really existed. Willow and Nancy alike are young adult women who carry the moral and emotional implications of your everyday young adult women, hence our ability to relate to them on such a strong level.
Essentially, the witch is female, or human, and contains the same implications of such a person and persona. People can be vengeful; witches can be vengeful. People can be peaceable; witches can be peaceable, etc. What’s interesting another dichotomy true of witches and women alike: either have been argued to be “supernatural” or “natural” beings. While the presented powers of the witch, and the sexuality of the women are often viewed as otherworldly, the means to achieving such powers and the allegory of them is anything but. This harkens back to second-wave feminist theories, specifically stemming from Sandra M. Gilbert who posits that the same supernatural/natural divide has been applied to woman by oppressors.
In Gilbert’s theory, she states that every woman is split into what society wants to see of them (the natural self) and who they actually are (the supernatural self). To be supernatural is to be othered, but the witch deconstructs this notion by instead empowering (quite literally) that otherness. Witch culture unifies this divide, making room for acceptance. While society considers sexuality, consent, and LGBT concerns more vocally, it makes perfect sense that we would laud the archetype of the witch.
Of course, any time an “other” is presented, a portion of society will seek to oppress or victimize out of fear and paranoia. As this victimization is already a well-ingrained part of witch history, the witch is again made topical in contemporary discussion. As previously oppressed groups are achieving progression, society balks and hegemony occurs. The portrayal of the witch in mainstream art forms acts as a relevant reminder of what can happen when fundamental, or totalitarian mindsets ensue. Genocide and senseless death is the somber reminder and warning carried by the witch a la The Salem Witch Trials among other tragedies.
The season of the witch is at large now for all of the right reasons. What differentiates this being from monsters past, is that she (or he) is not a monster at all. The moral and political implications of the witch are not a warning against what an individual can become, but instead an encouragement for the individual to be all that they can be.
To be a witch is be in charge of the mind and body, and I could not think of a more relevant didacticism to reflect the climate of 2016.
Kailey Tedesco is a full-time poet and a part-time taxonomist of vintage collar dresses. She will soon receive her MFA in Creative Writing from Arcadia University, and she's the co-founder of Rag Queen Periodical. On any given day, you can find her musing on the Season 5 finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and munching on French pastries. Get to know more at ragqueenperiodical.com or follow her on Twitter and/or Instagram: @KaileyTedesco.
I’m the first to admit it: I’m addicted to Instagram. From double-tap worthy beautiful images, to finding stunning makeup artists, poets, and breathtaking travel snaps, I’ve got my hand on the like button.
I was only six months into my freshman year in high school when I got knocked up. I should have been worrying about normal teenage girl shit like drama club or going to the mall to shoplift push‐up bras that didn’t fit. Instead, I was suddenly wondering how I was going to afford diapers since I wasn’t even old enough to get a job at McDonalds. I quickly learned that my family was not normal and I had to grow up fast if I was going to survive. We were poor Irish catholics and this was not the first teen pregnancy scandal in the family, my aunt had my cousin Siobhan when she was sixteen. I thought if she can make it work, so could I.Read More