Spring is a time of rebirth, when the earth’s fecundity reminds us of our own potential for renewal. As the natural world is “coming back to life” again, what do you want to manifest this season?
We’re still in Ostara season, when the goddess Eostre/Ostara oversees the blossoming of plants, fertility, and renewal of the earth. And like the natural world around us, we’ve also been incubating seeds of our own –– perhaps in the form of new projects, routines, or deep healing.
In this slow brightening of days until Beltane (May 1st), it’s a good time to celebrate the renewed commitments to our goals, spiritual practices, and usher in that joie de vivre. The dawn of Ostara is here and it’s time to open up space for the harvest.
Here are five candles for the spring season, to reign in blessings for new projects, creative inspiration, and happiness.
House Blessing Candle
Our home is the outer reflection of our inner state –– and there’s a reason why spring is often associated with cleaning. Many of us are also now working in our homes, so things are bound to get a little chaotic and unbalanced in the mix. A House Blessing candle is a good way to recommit your space to peace & joy, and can also be used as a ritual tool to mark the beginning/end of your WFH days.
Love and Happiness
A shop favorite, the Love & Happiness Candle paves the way for new friendships and/or love relationships, and welcomes in abundance, joy, and prosperity. Rather than focus on one specific person with this candle, ask the Universe, Deities, Spirit Guides, etc. to open the path to an abundance of love in all forms. When you fully embody love, the world will reflect it back.
Song of the Elder Gods/Goddess Candles
Spring is a time of fecundity and creativity. We’re naturally creative as human beings. Creativity is creation. So if you’re beginning a new artistic project (especially in music or performance), the Song of the Elder Gods Candle or Song of the Elder Goddess Candle helps with inspiration, focus, and the magical spark of creativity to achieve success.
Let’s face it, this past winter has been extremely tough, especially coming off the tail end of a pandemic. Many of us may outwardly want to reap the joys and promises of spring but still feeling blocked and a bit lost. The Ganesha Candle invokes the Hindu Elephant God to remove obstacles from your life and welcome in success. Representing wisdom and understanding, Ganesha is also said to usher in prosperity and good luck.
Throat Chakra Candle
So mote it be. Speaking our intentions aloud is an extremely powerful practice, whether it’s a mantra, intention, affirmation, or prayer. The Fifth Chakra Candle is ideal for opening up, strengthening, cleansing, healing, and balancing your throat chakra. You can also couple this candle with a daily color meditation by focusing on a vibrant, bright blue color cleansing your aura and throat area, opening up space for better self-expression, creativity, and communication. For more on chakra work, check out this story.
Interview by Amber C. Snider
In her latest book, author Lilith Dorsey explores water throughout time, place, and across cultures. Here, we discuss water as a conduit, as a vehicle for nature, as well as its transformative and healing power and some DIY recipe tips. The best part? You don’t have to go to the seaside or a sacred well, but can use what comes right out of your tap.
Amber C. Snider: For people that are unable to get to the beach because of the pandemic or if they're living in an urban city, what are some recommendations for ways people can perform water magic at home by using what's around them?
Lilith Dorsey: Well this really resonates with me, especially during these difficult times. I think one of the things that we forget is that our bodies are mostly water, and that our hearts and our minds are an even higher percentage than our body overall.
You have the water in you, so it doesn't necessarily even require going anywhere else. It is something that's there every day. I'm a New Yorker by birth and now I live in New Orleans, and there's a magic to the water that's in the city. It snakes underneath the city and travels all these places, and then comes up into your home.
ACS: How would you describe the unique power of tap water?
LD: I don't think anyone should ever deny the power of tap water because it has the spirit of place; it's coming from somewhere that's next to you. It's coming right to where you are. That's its own blessing in and of itself. It doesn't always have to be that you're going to Niagara Falls or some sort of grand sacred site having to do with water –– you have your own sacred water in your home that's specially tailored for you.
ACS: I’ve never thought about it in terms of how tap water snakes under the city and how it carries stories of place along with it. They say New York City has the best water in the country –– but on a spiritual level, do you think there's something more to that? Especially in regards to it being a conduit?
LD: Water always holds on to the character of whatever it touches. You might have a little teeny half ounce bottle of sacred water you've got from a well in Europe or something, but if you add more water to that, scientifically, when they test it, it still has all the properties of the original water, plus all the properties of the water that you added to it. So both scientifically and magically, it's layering on all of these things on top of it.
When I was writing the book, what I kept finding was that water seeks its level. It really resonated as [an element] that is going to find its place. It finds its place in you, it finds its place in your home, it finds its place in our atmosphere and settles where it needs to be.
ACS: You also quote Leonardo Da Vinci in your book: ‘Water is the vehicle of nature.’ I found that very fascinating...
LD: It is, it truly is. It's so transformational in every way. That was one of the most beautiful things I found when I was researching and really delving into every aspect of water.
ACS: I've written about water magic and rituals in the past, but for those who may be stuck at home or just kind of yearning for the sea, what home rituals or recipes would you recommend?
LD: Tap water [contains the] spirit of place. It's always been really hard for me to write these spell books because I'm someone who tailors everything to the situation. Yes, magical ingredients are great, but you really can use whatever’s in your life to make these things.
I'm really fond of magical floor washes.You can take some tap water and add your favorite oils or herbs. With herbs, usually the best thing to do is make some kind of decoction –– heat the water and then strain it so you're not getting this herb all over the place. We're not trying to make a mess, we're trying to clean! And then wipe down your home –– that's a magic act in and of itself. Wipe down the corners, thresholds, windows. As you're doing that, you can say a prayer or blessing that you want, and focus on good things coming to your house.
ACS: I just started making my own cleaner with white vinegar, castile soap, and essential oils –– it works beautifully! Do you add essential oils to your floor wash or any cleaning agent like soap?
LD: Usually I do a physical cleaning first, just to get all the dirt and stuff like that. But I will add essential oils into those cleaning products and I also make my own cleaning products. I always add Florida Water to everything, even my hand sanitizer. But I do a regular cleaning first, just so I’m not moving that dirt around when I do the magical floor wash.
ACS: What do you do with hand sanitizer?
LD: I put Florida Water in my hand sanitizer. It's an alcohol base and it has a lot of [great] ingredients like lavender, which is antifungal and antiviral. I make sure the proportions are right so that it still works for hand sanitizer, but just that little dash of Florida Water makes all the difference.
ACS: In your book, you mentioned a crystal gemstone fountain that you bought during a time of emotional turmoil. Could you talk a little bit more about that?
LD: I had a goddaughter who was very into Feng Shui way, and when I lost my daughter, one of the things we did was pretty much every blessing you could imagine on the house. It was for our own peace of mind and to heal. I found that it was a very common thing in Feng Shui to use some kind of moving water to transform energy that's been in a negative space.
I found the most beautiful gemstone crystal fountain at my local store–– it was turquoise and just so powerful. I love those colors anyway, teals, greens and blues. Sometimes you wear stones and some sit better with you than others, and those stones have always sat well with me my whole life. It was something that I really wanted to connect to: this whole native idea of turquoise being the tears of the mother.
Plus it puts negative ions in the air [said to relieve stress and boost your mood] when the water is moving. When we add stones to that, especially a watery stone or healing stone, it really can make a transformational space.
ACS: Is there a way for people to create their own water fountains at home?
LD: It's funny we're talking about water magic today because my best friend and I spent all morning looking at some pumps because my backyard floods! But I have made fountains before –– you can get an aquarium pump and make your own fountain. I think it's simple and easy, and definitely cheaper than going to the store and buying a fountain. I've also gotten inexpensive fountains and then added crystals that were water-safe. Anything really that you can put into water you can attach to your fountain. Then it becomes its own little magical space.
ACS: I have a feeling a lot of people are having sleep problems during this ongoing pandemic. For me, I'll pull up an app on my phone with water sounds because it’s so therapeutic. Do you think that there's something universal to that pull towards these sounds?
LD: It is because we're born in the womb and we have that sloshing water sound all around us. I put this thing on my television [on Amazon Prime] that gives me eight hours of waterfall or gentle rain sounds. It really does mimic being in that safe space where we're protected by the mother. I like having something on in the background just because I'm a city dweller and I need to have other noise, otherwise it starts freaking me out. But I find my mind is in such a better space now that I'm listening to water all night as opposed to leaving on whatever reality show I was watching before I fell asleep.
They have ones where you can see the actual image of the water or a waterfall, and then they have ones that are just a dark screen, so the lights from the screen don’t wake you up.
ACS: Going back to water as a conduit, you mentioned it has the ability to carry stories or holds memories of its source. I wanted to talk about that in terms of dreams, which you bring up briefly in the book, as well.
LD: Water, in general, is transformative, healing, and represents the emotions. When we look at it elementally, from a magical standpoint, if water appears in your dreams it’s [representative of] something you're dealing with. But you have to look at the actual water that's in the dream –– is it something where it's like a river? A river obviously goes from point A to point B, so it’s similar to what we were talking about earlier with water as a vehicle for transportation of things.
But I think dreams are really personal, as well. In New York we do Pagan Pride and for a long time we did it in Battery Park right next to the water. That's a spot where I have all these associations on top of the actual [place]. You can see the Statue of Liberty there, so that has an automatic association with me for freedom and justice.
I had this conversation with my goddaughter the other day, she said ‘I feel like I'm about to go over the falls.’ And I said, ‘Well, there's two things about falls: they look kind of calm, surprisingly calm for what's coming. And then afterwards, it looks incredibly calm again, but the transformation is in the middle. And sometimes that can be violent. You can make these giant transformations, you can go through these places that have complete and total change, and end up okay at the end.
If that is what your imagery is, then think about what it brings up for you and think about what's associated with it for you. Then there's the standard ones that I go through in the book like well water is about wishing, it's about joy, discovery. I would recommend doing some sort of personal exploration and maybe try automatic writing on it. I'm a big fan of that.
ACS: The waterfall analogy, the stillness and then that transformative quality in the center is very inspiring. I think I needed to hear that and I’m sure others do, too...
LD: I think that's the way the universe puts things in front of you. We're talking about water and yesterday I was writing about waterfalls when [my goddaughter] called and it was just like, wow.
ACS: We’ve talked about water as a spiritual element and how it's essential for life, but what about how freshwater is an endangered natural resource? Do you have advice on ways we can protect and conserve it?
LD: Yes, it's always important, but it's even more important now. We can still take charge of some of the waters that are close to our homes that are local to us that might be polluted. If we just think about these things in a more conscious way, we can begin to affect change.
I did a wonderful ritual with some friends years ago and they had an Earth Day theme. Somebody dressed as the Earth Mother and instead of it being a nice, happy circle, Mother Earth went around in her death veil and accused everybody: ‘I see you, I know you're wasting water. I know! Just turn the faucet off!’ It was really powerful, I've never seen anything like that. But I think we're certainly at that point in this planet where Mother Earth is pushing back. We have to keep those promises we made to her or we're not going to be able to survive. I know it sounds rough, but we all need it to live and it is polluted. It is a desperate situation. There's also so many of us that don't have clean water.
We need to be mindful of how we're using water, not waste it, and to treat it with the respect that it deserves. Because we all need it to live.
For more information on water conservation, check out Lilith’s recommendations here: Navajo Water Project, Healthy Gulf, Wetlands.org, Detroit Water Brigade, Charity Water, Clean Water Action, and Pure Water for the World. To purchase Dorsey's book Water Magic, published by Llewellyn, contact the Enchantments shop for availability or order online.
For more Enchantments stories on water rituals, check out this story here.
by Amber C. Snider
From utilizing your "money corner" to getting creative with natural storage materials, here are 15 tips for organizing your magical supplies.
Did the recent full moon leave you with a boost of energy or feeling a little zapped? If the former, you may have found yourself tackling major cleaning and organizational projects around the house (Virgo energy can do that). And just because the moon is waning doesn’t mean you can’t still harness that energy to give your house a new boost for spring.
If you’re anything like me, your witchy paraphernalia is all over the house. Anyone who steps inside is probably thinking, ‘Oh yes, a witch definitely lives here…’ It’s something I couldn’t hide if I tried –– between the books and bells, incense and cauldrons, crystals and candles, it’s all there. But as time gave way to accumulating more and more magickal stuff (I could never resist a good spiritual shop), I had to find a way to organize what was once a tidy cabinet space. Actually, who am I kidding, it was never quite “tidy” to begin with, but I really wanted this space to shine.
Lo and behold, under that Full Moon energy, I woke up one morning and got to organizing that old purple cabinet. Let’s start with what I had: About 40+ bottles of hand-blended oils from Enchantments, 15-20 bags of incense, 15 bottles of essential oils, 10 bottles of hand-blended oil spray, tons of stick incense, a variety of 120 candles, oil diffusers, holy water, statues, incense burners, mortar and pestles, chunks of palo santo and bundles of sage...the list goes on. I had three shelves and two drawers to work with, so here are my major takeaways, plus some tips from my dear friend, fellow witch, and resident photographer Victor Castro.
Give everything a good scrub down with a natural cleanser
Take everything out from your drawers and down from the shelves and give each surface a good scrubbing. You’re probably used to regularly cleaning your altar space, but maybe you neglect to clean out your tool storage space. Wipe down the shelves and objects with a vinegar-based cleaning solution (add ¼ cup of white vinegar to a spray bottle, 1 tbsp of castile soap if you have it, a few drops of lemon essential oil, add warm water, and shake well). You can also add a bit of Florida water or Holy water in your spray bottle. Don’t forget to thoroughly clean out your cauldrons and incense burners, too.
Like seeks like. Store each witchy item with a similar item.
This seems too obvious to even write, but it's something I really struggled with. My powdered incenses were mixed with bags of candle glitter and herbs, my oil sprays intermingled with countless oil drams, my crystals jammed next to my 120 candles. Not a good look and also...nonsensical. I grouped items together before I arranged them back on the shelves: drams go with drams, ½ ounce oils go together, sprays go with sprays, incense packets, etc.
Get creative with natural storage materials
I don’t care for those ubiquitous little plastic storage boxes –– you know the ones for $5 at Target, used for make-up or jewelry or nail polish or bobby pins or whatever. They’re horrible for the environment and I don’t want that energy mixing with my spiritual tools. So like a good little witch, I tried to use things I already had around the house. That’s right, use what ya got. No need to spend money on fancy organization tools here.
Here are some suggestions:
––Reuse tea boxes, tea tin cans, and gift sets: Over the holidays I was gifted a black wooden tea box (here) with a variety of tea packets. I moved the tea packets to ceramic jars and used the various compartments of the tea box to store my hand-blended oils, all organized by size (drams, roller balls, ½ ounces). I kept my 1 oz oils outside the box in a neat little row.
Many loose tea varieties come in tin cans (like Harney & Sons) or smaller wooden boxes, which are also great for storage. You can customize the exteriors with artwork, calligraphy, and creative labels, too.
––Hand-woven baskets: I love a good basket and I’ve accumulated quite a few over the years. I also weave my own pine needle baskets during the winter months (here’s a video to learn how), so I had a few around the house already. I set aside a Mexican palm basket to store all my powdered incenses and use my pine needle baskets for herb packets.
––Wooden bowls: Stop into any Goodwill and you’ll find a cool wooden bowl. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get creative with this stuff, so keep an eye out and the right bowl will find you. I like to store my plant-based items in wooden bowls, including loose herbs, sage, palo santo, etc. or oil sprays.
––Pottery: I also love a handmade cup, dish, or bowl and normally pick up a new piece of small pottery every time I travel. This makes for full, eclectic kitchen cabinets, but many of them I only use for magical purposes. My mother is gifted with ‘throwing the clay’ so I store my crystals in her various handmade bowls and cups.
Kondo it up
“I use Marie Kondo’s philosophy when it comes to my magical supplies. I was keeping vessels and trinkets and things that I gave spiritual meaning to but that didn’t really serve me anymore. It was turning into hoarding. I came at it with a Marie Kondo attitude: Does this bring me joy? Or is it something unnecessary that I was justifying? I got rid of a lot of things like chalices and bowls and gave them to people I care about –– because it passes the magic on,” Victor Castro says. “It’s so easy in the modern day to just accrue, accrue, and we don’t think about sustainability.”
Keep minimalism to a minimum, but keep it in mind
“I have to remember that all of our predecessors didn’t have all the things that we have in our modern age. I don’t like minimalism at all as a style, but I try to use minimalism in the tools I use everyday. Energetically, we have a bad habit of spreading ourselves too thin. Yes, having a broom collection or crystals collection is wonderful, but sometimes having too many irons in the fire is unnecessary and can cause harm, at least to your psyche,” Castro tells me.
"People are really into minimalism, but sometimes instead of reflecting what their individual style is, they do whatever everyone else is doing. It looks pretty, but there’s nothing inside. It’s trying to be high-end on the low-end scale. It’s trying to look expensive instead of being authentic,” says Castro. So instead of trying to pare down to complete minimalism for the sake of a trending aesthetic, think deeply about how your objects reflect you and how you reflect them.
Work with the elements
If you work with the element of water, you may want to group all your shells, river rocks, and stones together in a single bowl. That way, if you want to fill it with water/salt in the future for a ritual, you know the salt water won’t damage your other crystals.
Utilize decorative trays
These work well for grouping items together, such as essential oils, carving tools, and small incense burners.
Conscious book arrangement
I have an entire library in my house filled with everything from the classics, theory, philosophy, bestsellers, and esoteric metaphysics. But I also have a series of distinctly “witchy” books (check out some Enchantment favorites here) that focus on tarot, spells, runes, herbal magick, and Gods & Goddesses. I grouped all of these together to store on the top shelf of my cabinet so they’re in easy reach when I’m looking for a particular spell, ritual, or recipes.
Keep Feng Shui in mind
Did you know there’s a “money corner” in your house? “Think of where the front door of your house or apartment is, and then think of the farthest wall opposite to the entrance of your home. Now follow that to the farthest left corner along that wall –– that’s your money corner. It’s where I put my plants. I also installed a vertical metal tension rod there, which lets me stack and hang even more plants in that area,” says Victor Castro.
I like to think of my various statues (including alebrijes) as tiny protectors of my home and this sacred area, so I arrange them accordingly on my shelves. Say a blessing over each one and add a photo of your ancestors to personalize the space (it’s also a reminder of the unique power that runs through your blood, passed on from generations, reminding you of the cycles of life).
Storing individual candles
If you stock up on 120 candles and just leave them leaning on a shelf somewhere, it can cause warping –– not to mention discoloration (especially if you leave a white one next to a red one and so on). I keep my 120s individually wrapped in scraps of brown paper (from grocery bags) and lay them flat in a drawer to prevent warping.
Maximizing drawer space
You can make easy “compartments” in your drawers by using cutout cardboard scraps. Rather than go digging for something at the bottom or back of a drawer (like stick incense or resins) it’ll have it’s own little compartment, preferably with a label. Think of it like a filing cabinet and organize away.
Want more witchy tips? Here's are 25 ways to magically cure the winter blues.
By Amber C. Snider
Does light have consciousness? As one of the most enigmatic and perplexing forces in the universe, the nature of light continues to baffle scientists and spiritual seekers alike.
Scientists, theologians, philosophers, astronomers, and healers alike have been fascinated by the power of light. In the quantum universe (that is, the subatomic level), scientists still don’t quite understand how light works –– Is it a particle? A wave? Both?
On the quantum level, light changes its behavior depending on whether or not it is being observed. It’s a baffling discovery, one that has disturbed some of the greatest minds of our history, including Albert Einstein. If light can change its behavior whether or not we’re looking at it, we have to wonder: Does light have consciousness?
Now imagine the birth of the universe in the Big Bang. Consider the intense, life producing light that was emitted, propelling life itself into being. For many spiritual practitioners, science is not contradictory to what we call ‘magic’ –– magic is simply misunderstood or undiscovered science. In fact, science, especially quantum physics, reveals just how magical and mystifying the world really is. And there are many, many ways to uncover that magic. Just as the mystic 13th century Persian poet Rumi once said, “There are as many paths to God as there are souls on earth.”
Light connects all of life on earth. Our central star, the Sun, radiates light that has made all physical life on this planet possible. Encouraging the grass to grow, the vegetables and grain; everything we consume – the food we eat –– was made possible, either directly or indirectly, through the power of the sun. Without its light, nothing would grow; we would cease to be.
In Buddhism, luminosity (light) is associated with the Buddha-nature, which is one of compassion and enlightenment. In meditation we can get closer to this spiritual understanding of unity in all things and our own divine nature. Light, most spiritual masters have observed, is the ultimate reality. Light is knowledge.
In Neo-Paganism, nature itself is magical, divine, and interconnected. Neo-pagans use tools to visualize and manifest energy, often with light as a central focus. One of the tools of energy manifestation (or spellwork) is candle magic. At the center of this practice, the element of fire, as presented by a tiny flame, is representative of our will, our spiritual intention, which is sent into the air to become manifest in the universe. Since light also contains and holds all the colors of the rainbow, visualizing light (using color meditations) can have a profoundly healing effect on the body, spirit, and mind.
We see an emphasis of light in nearly every world religion and spiritual tradition. In Christianity, Jesus refers to himself as the “Light of the world” (John 3:18) and the Gnostic Gospels are also riddled with parables about light. The Gnostic Gospels, or the 52 codices/texts discovered in Nag Hammadi, were never included in the Christian Canon because they didn’t quite “fit” the dogma or doctrine of the Roman Church at the time. Gnosis originates from the Greek word for knowledge, and these texts emphasize spiritual knowledge rather than focusing on humans as separated from God or nature by sin. If humans are connected to each other, each a part of the whole of the divine, and there is unity in all of nature, what exactly connects us? Is it light?
In the Gnostic Gospels, light is akin to knowledge, but these texts were esoteric and perhaps intended for only a select few to understand. Just as it is written in the New Testament, “Do not cast your pearls before swine,” the Gospel of Thomas proclaims something very similar: “Jesus said, ‘I disclose my mysteries to those [who are worthy] of [my] mysteries’ ” (62).
The ancient texts, written around the 2nd century AD, were encoded as symbols and the teachings centered around enlightenment or light –– not the fault of man through so-called sin. In the Gospel of Thomas, “Jesus said, ‘If they say to you, 'Where have you come from?' say to them, 'We have come from the light, from the place where the light came into being by itself, established [itself], and appeared in their image' ” (50). And again, “I am the light that is over all things. I am all: from me all came forth, and to me all attained. Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there” (77).
The Upanishads, part of the sacred texts in the Vedic tradition that shaped Hinduism, also refer to the light. Atman, or the soul, is light; it’s part of the Supreme Soul (Brahma). Light is part of the “Infinite Reality” and our soul journey is one of awakening to that knowledge. Like the Gnostic Gospels, light equals spiritual awareness. Diwali, the religious holiday called The Festival of Lights, is essentially a celebration of this light and its triumph or victory over darkness.
In Greek mythology, Hestia (or Vesta in Roman mythology) is the Goddess of the hearth. She was the firstborn child of Cronus and Rhea, both Titans. She is the silent Virgin figure that tends to the firelight between both worlds. Light, or the undying eternal flame, is her domain. She carefully, patiently tends to the fire and she can be seen as embodiment of meditation, the keeper of secret knowledge.
Near Death Experiences (NDEs) have been studied by numerous doctors and researchers in recent years, most notably, perhaps by Dr. Raymond Moody. He reported that most (if not all) patients returning from death claim to see a light at the end of a tunnel or being drawn into an all-encompassing, compassionate, calming light. They each describe this light as the most loving force they’ve ever encountered. Upon returning to their earthly bodies, after crossing over to the Other Side, nearly all NDE survivors report some kind of experience with light. NDEs, and the phenomena they produce, are so widely reported that prestigious universities and scientists have taken notice. University of Virginia’s Division of Perceptual Studies, for instance, is devoted to examining the mysteries of NDEs and the possibility of reincarnation of the soul.
The power of light resides within us all. It’s one of the most mysterious, yet necessary forces in the universe. What does it mean to be conscious? What does it mean to be human? Perhaps, it has something to do with light. And who knows what lies just beyond that light?
Want more stories on the mystical power of nature? Read about magical workings with rivers, streams, and cenotes here.
By Amber C. Snider
Here are ways to make Valentine’s Day less about Hallmark and more about embracing your inner Venusian Goddess.
Valentine’s Day is swiftly approaching with Mercury still in retrograde, so things may seem a little tense or confusing when it comes to matters of the heart and communication. With the New Moon in Aquarius on February 11, you may find yourself questioning your existing relationship or singledom. But the cosmos is giving you time to reassess the ways you give and receive love, and perhaps most importantly, the ways you honor yourself.
Under Aquarius' airy, intellectual, empowering energy it’s a good time for new beginnings, introspection, and digging deep. It’s not all about romantic love with a "perfect partner" –– what if this journey is about cultivating and sustaining radical self-love?
Check in with your inner child.
Creating space for your emotions is key to a healthy spiritual life. Especially after this extra intense, heavy year. You know that baby-self that everyone has? The tiny child within us all that just wants to be loved and give love? With the New Moon in Aquarius, your dreamy, idealistic side is in a better position to make amends with your inner child in new, creative ways.
Try a 20 minute writing meditation and write an actual letter to your child-self. If you have trouble with this, imagine yourself as a toddler or a 4 year old –– what would you say to them? What would they have to say to you? Explore your/their needs, wants, desires, angers, disappointments ––aka start a dialogue on the page –– and listen to the answers you receive. Then write out positive affirmations as responses: “You are loved and protected. You are safe. You are a creative wonder and I cherish you. You’re doing just fine.” You wouldn’t say harsh and hurtful things to a child, so why would you do it to yourself? Nurturing that baby-child spirit within all of us is essential in radical self-love; plus it helps you recognize it in others.
Try Mediation incense as you channel your inner child with this writing exercise.
Try a Crystal Healing, Heart Chakra, or Empress Candle.
Sometimes before we can welcome in all that self-love, we have to do a bit of healing first. If you’re feeling blocked in love and dealing with old wounds from the past, a Crystal Healing candle (in pink or green) may be a great choice, as well as the Heart Chakra candle (more on that here). If you’re not feeling particularly blocked, but want to reign in and expand that bad ass Goddess aspect of yourself, the Empress candle is all about magnifying self-love and confidence, while also used for attracting romantic attention.
Spice up the bedroom.
Literally. Burn some cinnamon, Goddess of Love or Bad Ass incense to amp up those feel good, sexy vibes. Add a textured, faux-fur throw to your bed for the next couple weeks. Add a splash of vibrant red décor or wall hanging for some color magick. Burn a Catch A New Love candle for 7 days. Or try these tips on how to invite more sexual energy to your bedroom.
“Language is...an intellectual recreation.”
Yes, oh thank you great Gertrude Stein. With the New Moon in Aquarius, a little word play fun is great for spellwork, especially when it comes to experimenting with new chants or even automatic writing. Everything doesn’t have to be so serious –– sometimes your inner child (yes, back to that) just wants to play.
Mix up words (even if they don’t seem to make sense) and brainstorm new silly rhymes. When we give ourselves the freedom to explore and play creatively, without censorship or judgement, we can tap into our inner artist and creator within. Who knows, maybe you’ll even come up with inspiration for a larger project down the road.
Burn or wear Inspiration oil or Divine Muse as you experiment with your word play or automatic writing.
Get crafty. It’s called witchcraft for a reason.
Remember back in the day when all it took was a handmade Valentine card with a couple of Smarties from your crush to send your heart racing? Or how making Valentine’s cards for your classmates was, like, a thrill? Creating things with our hands not only keeps the mind busy and eases tension, but there’s a subtle joy in it. This week, try a new hobby as a gift to yourself –– maybe that means you try candle carving, making your own incense, weaving a basket, or meditative calligraphy. Whatever it is, you’ll pick up a new skill and have a little self-care token as a result.
Self-care is not selfish.
That’s right, let’s say it again: self-care is not selfish. If you’re single on Valentine’s Day or things aren’t going quite as you planned, don’t panic –– embrace that beautiful, luscious, vibrant Goddess of Love within and keep it moving. It doesn’t have to be a full-on Venusian ritual, but simply soaking in a tub full of fresh or dried rose petals, anointing your body with fragrant oils (here), or doing a full self-care routine (as in, thoroughly washing your hair, putting on that face mask that’s been sitting in the bathroom drawer for 2 months, spraying your favorite perfume, and changing into fresh clothes) can be a real mood boost. “As above, so below...as within, so without.”
For more stories on love, check out this article on the symbolism of the rose.
Interview by Amber C. Snider
Trained in anthropology and a variety of magical traditions, Lilith Dorsey has been a Voodoo Priestess for nearly 30 years. Dorsey has initiations in Santeria (or Lucumi), Haitian Vodou, and New Orleans Voodoo and they are also the author of the bestselling book Orishas, Goddesses, and Voodoo Queens, which seamlessly blends folklore and mythology with practical spellwork.
Here, Dorsey discusses the divine feminine in traditional African religions, honoring the orishas, the meaning of ashe, and turning to women of color to elucidate the intersectionality of these practices, while also debunking a few misconceptions.
Amber C. Snider: I have to say this book is truly excellent and one of the best I’ve read on orishas and goddesses. I really wish it was around years ago when I was working on my graduate thesis! What first made you want to write Orishas, Goddesses, and Voodoo Queens?
Lilith Dorsey: I wanted to write this book my entire life. Growing up, I didn’t really see any positive images of the sacred feminine, let alone anything about Voodoo or Santo or any of the African traditional religions. At that point in time, they were still telling us things that were alternative or African were ‘bad or evil.’ Even at some of the pagan or occult events back in the 80s, you couldn’t have drumming or recorded music. The events were really restrictive, but the tide has since changed (for good and bad) over these last 20 years or so. At least we can drum now…
ACS: Can you explain what ashe is –– and does everyone have it?
LD: Everything has ashe. It’s the sacred energy of the universe when we talk about these African traditional religions.
The orisha Oshun is simultaneously the ashe of the river, so that feeling you get when you’re by a river, or when you’re using river water in one of your spells or ritual baths. But she’s also the ashe of oranges, honey, the dance –– and it’s really not a Western way of conceiving of things. It’s really an African-based way of seeing things as connected on a different level.
In that respect, my academic training helped me. Anyone in academia knows, you can compare any two things and make them seem similar or dissimilar. So in that way, it was about finding connections and also differences with the way, let’s say, the ashe of Oshun works compared with that of Yemaya. Yemaya is the ashe of the seawater or the top of the ocean. They’re both water, but they have very different characteristics.
ACS: You also describe the many paths –– or the caminos –– of the orishas. Can you describe what these paths mean?
LD: They’re not as simple as ‘Oshun is love’ or “Oshun is money’ –– there are many paths. When someone gets a reading, they throw the shells or opele, so there’s a series of different combinations that can come out in a reading. It’s very mathematical. Each one represents an orisha, but a specific path of the orisha.
You can have an Oshun that’s very young and flirtatious and loves to dance. [But] I have a good friend whose path of Oshun sits at the bottom of the river, knits all the time, complains about everybody, and is sort of ancient! So there are many different parts, just as there are many different parts to a person.
When you get the reading you find out, ‘Oh this is the path and this is the story that goes along with this path’. It’s mythology, folklore, and a cautionary tale all wrapped into one.
Everything has ashe. It’s the sacred energy of the universe when we talk about these African traditional religions.
ACS: Can you share a story of Oshun?
LD: One famous one about Oshun has to do with her being poisoned with honey, so when you offer it to her, you taste it first to show that it’s not poisoned. A lot of people I know who are children of Oshun have very specific tastes; they are very picky, they don’t like eating at other people’s houses. All of this goes to their character, as being a child of Oshun. Whether they knew it or not.
ACS: What was it like learning you’re a child of Oshun?
LD: For me it was an a-ha moment. Like, ‘Oh, this is why I don’t like shellfish,’ which is definitely one of the big things you offer to her. But there are certain times, where after you’ve gone through initiation, you can’t eat shellfish anymore. A lot of the priests cannot eat shellfish or her other sacred items.
It’s a difficult thing to explain because it’s not a Western concept, but you have a strong reaction to [the offerings of the orishas]. It doesn’t matter if your strong reaction is that you love seafood or you hate it –– both can be an indicator that you’re connected to that orisha.
ACS: You brought up Mami Wata in the book and I really loved her origin story. Can you give a brief description of her and why you made the decision to include her in the book?
LD: Mami Wata is so beautiful. She comes originally from West Africa from Benin, so it's slightly different from the orisha, which comes from the neighboring Yoruba region. It's different people; it's different languages, different everything. But Mami Wata is simply the spirit of water. So everywhere you have water, Mami Wata is present.
She is a primal feminine figure. She's seen as the mother to all of us and they still do rituals to her. There's an amazing documentary by Djimon Hounsou called In Search of Voodoo that depicts two very beautiful rituals to her, one in the city and one at the water side. [It shows] how people do ritual baths and sing to her and pray to her and give offerings. They really connect with this divine feminine force that we all came from.
So much of her has to do with protection and love, but also the fierceness that comes with motherhood. Patience as well. I remember doing a ritual for her in Canada with my Priestess Miriam and the ritual drummers had REMOS so they could get in the water. She had all of us singing and drumming and literally standing in the water for over four hours while we did this ritual. And the gravity of the world and the water and the beauty of it really became clear. And the stillness of it, as well. I’ll never forget that.
ACS: The way you’re describing her reminds me a bit of Yemaya. How are they different? Is it just the regions or is there something fundamentally different between the two?
LD: Generally, is it the region. But over the years, when [these traditions] were brought to Cuba and Puerto RIco and blended with the indigenous Taíno people that were there, Yemaya got separated into Yemaya and Olokun. Yemaya is seen as the top of the seawater, whereas Olokun is seen as the depths of the ocean. Mami Wata simply is all water. There’s not a distinction; She’s in all water, even the water that’s sitting next to me in a glass. Anywhere you have it.
ACS: What is your spiritual background?
LD: My parents named me Lilith so there was always a sort of goddess-informed existence. I think that showed up at the very beginning. There’s so much Lilith stuff out there now, but at the time when I was growing up in the 70s, a lot of it was very demonized and created by the misogynistic powers that be. Trying to find positive things about spirituality and witchcraft, I pretty much did on my own until I was a teenager.
I remember going to Enchantments and Magickal Childe, all the stores...it was such a joy to be around people and have knowledge and information. This was before the internet so to be able to see and experience those things first hand was beautiful.
ACS: How did you meet your first Priestess?
I met my Priestess Miriam from the Voodoo Spiritual Temple here in New Orleans [28 years ago]. I gotta hand it to her, she did five rituals in five nights, which is a lot. And it was just so beautiful and she's like family to me and I've been studying with her ever since then. Over the years I did get initiations in other types of ATRs as different things occurred in my life.
ACS: What led you to seek out the other traditions?
LD: It wasn’t ‘Oh, let me go initiate in 5 different traditions'; there really were things in my life [that led me to them]. There was a situation I was in where I needed justice for this horrible thing and I had a dear friend who was a Santera Priestess in the Lucumi tradition, and she said well let me see if there's anything I can do.
So we did a reading and it turned out that I needed to initiate and study with her. We did get justice in the situation, so that made me really happy. Same sort of deal with my Haitian Vodou initiations.
I knew Priestess Miriam, but I was living in New England at the time and did not have much money as a single mom. I was traveling back and forth to New Orleans so often as I could and I started praying for somebody to come and help me locally. I was teaching tarot and intro to astrology at a UU church and they called me and said we have this Haitian Mambo who went to Harvard Divinity School and she’s coming as our UU Minister…
ACS: It reminds me of the saying, ‘When the student is ready, the teacher appears.’ That seems to be true with the situations you’re describing.
LD: Yes, I felt like I was ready. But there's a difference between when you feel like you're ready and when the universe feels like you're ready. I traveled 1000 miles to see my Priestess in New Orleans five times last year, before I moved here this year during the pandemic. Sometimes we do have to go out of our way because it is such an important thing.
[Finding a spiritual family] is important. Can you trust them with your life? Because ultimately you are trusting them with your life –– with your relationships, finances, health, all of these things. I wanted somebody I trusted and then I prayed for it really, really hard to find the people I did and they did appear.
Mami Wata is simply the spirit of water. So everywhere you have water, Mami Wata is present. She is a primal feminine figure. She's seen as the mother to all of us
ACS: Which sections or subjects brought you the most joy during the writing process?
LD: I felt joy writing about Oshun. I’m a daughter of Oshun and that gets determined by divination in the practice. I hoped it was Oshun because she’s so beautiful and graceful. I’m biased, but the ashe of the river, the sacred energy of the river, and talking about her just flowed out. There have been so many experiences and times that I felt her energy and felt the benefits of her blessings.
ACS: When it comes to Lucumi and Haitian Vodou, there have been many misrepresentations of these practices, particularly in the media. What are some myths or misconceptions that you’d like to set straight?
LD: I’d like to set the record straight about initiation and divination, because it’s very important. Everybody’s path is individualized. It's not one size fits all; you need to have a teacher because that’s somebody who's going to help guide you through all these things. As much as I want people to rush out and buy the book, it's not the kind of thing where you can just buy a book and then know everything.
There's a saying: you can’t get Awo from a book, which is spiritual knowledge. You can get information, but it’s not the same as knowledge. It’s not the same as practical knowledge or deeply understanding deeply what these things do. I want people to understand that in order to respectfully practice the tradition it does involve working with a house.
ACS: Do you recommend people get initiated before seeking out the orishas?
LD: I guess it depends. For me, I draw the line at, are you just going to read stories about them or maybe leave an orange by the river? That’s more acceptable than, let’s say...well I knew someone who was a kook and threw a $50 necklace in the Hudson River in order to get a husband. And that’s not how any of this works.
[That’s why getting a reading is important first]. Is finding a husband or partner the most important thing right now? Because maybe they have an issue with finances or with their home or health. It doesn't matter if they find the ‘perfect partner’ if the next day they're dead or homeless or some other horrible thing is going on that they really need to handle in the immediate. And then, if they want to move forward, maybe there's things they have to do in order to initiate.
When my godchildren first start out [it’s] so hard for them, because many have been practicing magic for a long time. But I tell them they need to focus on themselves first. You need to help yourself first, get in a secure and settled place before you decide to open up a magic business and consult hundreds of people. And also secure advisors, teachers, and a network of people to help support you. It's not just about getting this ‘one thing’ you want. It's about shaping your life so that it's the proper path for you to travel; for you to live in the most successful way you can.
ACS: Absolutely, Lilith. I’ve also noticed an uptick in popularity in Lucumi and other Afro-Caribbean traditions. How can magical practitioners and seekers understand more about these practices in a respectful and mindful way, without veering into cultural appropriation?
LD: I usually recommend that people get a reading first. I'm not hard and fast on ‘this is something that's only for people who have African heritage,’ because some of the earliest signs of life were in Africa. When we go back anthropologically, that's where the cradles of civilization are, so everybody has some connection to that area and these practices. But whether or not everybody is supposed to run out and initiate, that's gotta be determined by a reading.
If somebody is white presenting and [they get a reading that says] they should continue in the tradition, initiate and become a Babalawo or a Santero, [then the] reading backs that up. Instead of someone questioning you, they’re going to judge you based on your spiritual family. That’s why picking a spiritual family is so important.
Where I draw the line really is the commodification of it. But I think there's a way in which people need to be really mindful of what they're doing.
A lot of times I see the success of some practitioners that aren't African American or POC and I think it’s [because there is a] silent bias against the other practitioners and they really are taking away limited resources. It’s the same way that men and women don't get paid the same, and how Black authors don't get the same type of advances that white authors do. It's really a slim market and when you're competing in that capitalistic way, unfortunately you're going to be taking some of these things away from other people.
ACS: In the book you bring you also talk about the importance of understanding goddess spirituality, feminism, and African traditional religions by specifically looking to women of color to elucidate that knowledge. Is that one of the reasons you wrote this book? Can you talk more about that?
LD: It is. I think that a lot of the authors out there are not women and certainly not WOC, so I thought that [these were] greatly underrepresented voices when we are talking about orishas and Voodoo queens that are Black, they’re POC, they’re gods and goddesses of color.
It's this Eurocentric, misogynistic viewpoint that's going to be very different than someone who grew up with this skin color, who grew up with this gender, etc.
ACS: What tools do you use in your own readings and magickal practices?
LD: I use a conjunction of things. I’ve used the New Orleans Voodoo Tarot for years –– it was written by my priest Lewis Martine and Sallie Ann Glassman who is a Mambo down here in the city. It was the first African American-based tarot deck, but I’ve also used things like pendulums and dowsing rods when I’m doing a reading.
My priestess Miriam at the Voodoo Spiritual Temple uses a system of bone reading combined with geomancy and crystals. It's going to be different everywhere. Basically find someone who is a practitioner of the religion you want to practice and get a reading from them.
ACS: Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with the readers of Enchantments and many congratulations on this book!
LD: Oh thank you! It’s a pleasure.
*Editor’s Note: This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
To purchase Orishas, Goddesses, and Voodoo Queens, visit the Enchantments shop in NYC or order online. Call for availability.
Lilith Dorsey (M.A.) hails from many magickal traditions, including Afro-Caribbean, Celtic, and Indigenous American spirituality. Their magickal training includes numerous initiations in Santeria also known as Lucumi, Haitian Vodoun, and New Orleans Voodoo. A Voodoo Priestess, Dorsey has been doing successful magick since 1991 for patrons and is proud to be a published Black author of such titles as Voodoo and Afro-Caribbean Paganism, 55 Ways to Connect to Goddess, The African-American Ritual Cookbook, Love Magic, Orishas, Goddesses and Voodoo Queens, and the newly released Water Magic.
For more exclusive interviews from Enchantments, check out our Spirituality Around the World section.
By Amber C. Snider
Feeling fatigued? Unmotivated? Unsure of yourself? Here are 9 ways to balance and realign your solar plexus chakra to increase self-esteem, energy levels, and build confidence.
With the New Moon in Capricorn, it’s a good time to get practical, prudent, and disciplined in all things. Our solar plexus is our center of personal power. It’s the center of our personality, our ego, our identity, and when it’s out of balance we may feel a sense of powerlessness. We may feel “out of control” emotionally or alternatively we may feel the need to control others. Our self-esteem may suffer, our anxieties come to the surface, and we may feel stagnant, unmotivated, and fatigued.
Tuning into this energetic center and healing any blocks can be transformative in our waking life. Not only spiritually, but also physically. The solar plexus chakra is located in our abdomen between our belly button and breastbone, so when it’s “blocked” or imbalanced, you may also experience digestive issues, breathing problems, bowel issues, and increased anxiety. The Third Chakra, or Manipura as it’s known in Sanskrit, is associated with the color yellow and the element of fire, and candle rituals (accompanied with other spiritual wellness practices) are a great way to help rebalance and retune this sacred center.
Candle Magic Rituals for the Third Chakra
Try a hand-carved, custom chakra candle for cleansing, healing, balancing, and strengthening the third chakra. Associated with energy, power, will, assertiveness, self-esteem, confidence, and courage, this candle comes with your astrological sign and name, and will burn for 7 days. We recommend taking a sea salt bath before performing any candle magic ritual, meditating on the color yellow as you light the wick, and saying words of affirmation, chanting, dancing, singing, etc to raise your vibrations to align with your intentions. Alternatively, the 7-day Solar Blast candle is also great for growth, expansion, empowerment, and invokes the energies of the sun.
Wear intention-specific, fiery oils
Our hand-blended Sun oil is great for invoking the fiery, expansive energy of the sun. You can wear it as you would a perfume or burn it in a small stone oil diffuser. Motivation oil is also a great choice for this Capricorn season, as well as Concentration oil. Outside of wearable, hand-blended oils, you can try burning essential oils like sandalwood and cinnamon in the home. You can check out Enchantments’ full line of oils here.
Working with crystals
Amber, citrine, tiger’s eye, and pyrite are all great crystals to help balance the solar plexus. Find a gemstone that works for you, charge it with your intention of healing (hold in your hand, preferably in the sunlight, and chant a mantra over it) and keep it in your purse/pocket or wear as a pendant. If you’re buying a new crystal/gemstone, it’s ideal to cleanse it from outside energies before wearing. You can do this by placing it in a bowl of salt for 1-2 days, smudging or smoke cleansing, or bathing it in sunlight or moonlight.
Color magic is a super powerful way to connect your intentions with energy. For the solar plexus, visualize a small, bright ball of light in your belly area. As you breathe into that center, imagine that golden, radiant light expanding outwards, following through all your limbs, and eventually extending beyond your body and setting around your auric field. Sit in the beautiful light you’ve created.
Alternatively, you can pick a natural yellow object to meditate on, such as a sunflower, daffodil, or marigold. Imagine the flower starting out as a seed at your center, growing and blooming inside you, and filling your body with a luminous yellow hue and light. Sit with this visualization for at least 5-10 minutes per day while working on your solar plexus.
Click here to read an interview with color magic specialist and witch Sarah Potter, where she shares ways to incorporate the power of color into your daily routine.
Paint a room –– get creative
We are creative beings by nature and magic isn’t all about rituals and formalities. Add some play and creativity to your daily routine by painting a vibrant yellow wall in your room, creating an acrylic painting with various yellow tones, or wear a bright shade of yellow to uplift your mood. Here are more ways to incorporate color magic into your routine.
Burn incense for the solar plexus
The best incense for the solar plexus is Sun incense, Motivation incense, and Crucible of Courage incense. These hand-blended, wood-based incenses do not require charcoal. Simply add a tablespoon or more of the incense to a fire-proof dish, touch fire to it, and smudge your aura and house 2x per day (and before rituals) while balancing your solar plexus. You can check out incense made at Enchantments here.
Since our solar plexus is located in our physical center, it’s a good idea to add some physical movements and exercises to your routine. Exercises focused on the core are ideal, as well as yoga, deep breathing exercises, and light walking in the sun.
Words of affirmation
Here are a few to try either as morning meditations, with your candle rituals, or as written affirmations in a notebook: I am centered. I am whole. I am confident. I am radiant. I am enough. I am powerful and use my power to help myself and others. I embody light and courage. The sun lives within my bones, in my belly, and heals all.
Consume yellow foods
Consider adding squash, sunflower seeds, bananas, oats, cinnamon, and marigold tea to your meal plan for the week. As you consume yellow foods with intention, ask the food to cleanse, heal, and open your energetic center. Visualize how the sun encourages plants and vegetables to grow and flourish; as you eat, you’re also taking in that powerful sun energy as it fills and nourishes your body.
Want to read more about chakra healing? Click here for a story on ways to balance and fine-tune your root chakra to promote stability and grounding.
Botanical Brew author Amy Blackthorn weighs in on how to make a magical New Years Eve cocktail to “revive” your spirits and welcome protection, purification, and transcendence.
The one good thing about 2020 is we won’t have to suffer through watered down cocktails in an overcrowded venue while counting down the clock on New Years Eve. Here, bestselling author Amy Blackthorn shares how to prepare a lush botanical brew with intention at home, as well as the magical benefits of lemon, Lillet Blanc, and juniper berries, and more.
Blackthorn says her Corpse Reviver recipe (see below) is good for protection, purification, and transcendence, making it a great choice for NYE. While these intentions are fairly serious (and necessary as we move into the next year), it's best to infuse each ingredient with a sense of play: “Making projects, recipes and cordials, it's all supposed to be fun. Whether you're trying the cocktails, mocktails, or a homemade soda, enjoy the journey. No one is judging your outcome, your progress or your recipes. This is your time to connect with yourself, your magic, and the nature of botanicals,” Blackthorn tells Enchantments.
The idea is to prepare each ingredient with focused intention: “As you slice the lemon, visualize cutting the ties of anything holding you back,” Amy Blackthorn says. “Lemon has the magick of purification.” Lillet Blanc, an aperitif with notes of honey, citrus, and mint, “carries the magic of inspiration, overcoming obstacles and devotion,” she adds. Cointreau, another spirit in the brew, has the magic of abundance and affection. “All of these botanicals carry their own inherent magical properties as fruits and herbs. The effect only increases as they are processed, distilled and handled.”
Gin, a spirit made with juniper berries, is also in the Corpse Reviver, adding the magical benefits of protection and aura cleansing to your brew. A slowly maturing shrub, juniper berries take “two to three years of sunshine, rain water, and plenty of CO2 from human breath and environment” to fully ripen. When harvested, the berry (which is actually a seed cone) is “useful in at least five protection applications magically, as well as banishing evil, protection from harm by animals, aura cleansing, increasing the frequency of dreams and prosperity,” says Blackthorn.
If cocktails aren’t your thing or you’d like alternative ways to utilize the power of juniper, Blackthorn recommends making a bitters (a tincture used to flavor beverages) instead. “You can get a hint of that delightful green flavor without adding the bulk of gin itself.” She dedicated an entire chapter entitled “Feeling Frisky” in her book to shrubs and syrups.
This recipe calls for a fancy champagne saucer, but of course any glass will do. “Allow yourself to be fallible. Not every concoction is going to be a stunner. That's okay. You'll learn from the experience, and move on. Gordon Ramsey isn't looking to judge your cocktail-ability,” Blackthorn adds. “There's two kinds of magic in these potions: first, the inherent properties of these fruits, herbs and others. Second, the magic 'oomph' you supply when creating these recipes. Without you there to activate the magic inherent to these ingredients, they're simply tasty beverages. Don't forget to empower them in the way that suits you best. The final magical ingredient is always you.”
Blessed be for this new year witches and we’ll see you in 2021! Here’s the full recipe, courtesy of Red Wheel/Weiser publishing, below:
For more on making magical brews at home, check out this "Old fashioned Witch" recipe here.
By Amber C. Snider
Author of the bestselling book Botanical Brews, Amy Blackthorn shares her “Old Fashioned Witch” recipe and why it’s a perfect cocktail for the holidays.
Made with orange bitters, amaretto, and bourbon, this old fashioned cocktail is sure to warm up the season and sweeten your Yule celebrations. Anything we create can be magickal when made with intention, so for all you kitchen witches out there, this recipe by author Amy Blackthorn is brimming with festive possibilities.
“The measure of a great bartender is often how they make the 'Old Fashioned,' but with the addition of amaretto, you're adding not just the delicious flavor of almond, but the magic of creativity, defense against evil, and opening of the mind,” Amy Blackthorn tells Enchantments. It’s not just a tasty drink, but reminds us that “magic can be found anywhere.” The amaretto adds a balanced sweetness, especially for those who don’t want an overly sugary cocktail.
Made with orange peel and orange bitters, (Amy calls the fruit the “star of the citrus crown), these small ingredients are packed with sunshine to help bring in the light on the dark days following the Winter Solstice. “Oranges are the perfect ally for magick aligned with the sun, prosperity, acton, confidence, creativity, business assistance, fortune, and calm,” she says.
Bourbon, one of the main ingredients found in the recipe, also has magical uses. The principal ingredient of bourbon is corn, which can help in spells dealing with balance, purpose, mental acuity, and binding agreements. The best part is, you probably already have most of the ingredients lurking somewhere in your kitchen cabinet. “It’s easy to make and unassuming, so a couple sharing a quiet Yuletide night at home during lockdown can still celebrate the magic of the season,” Blackthorn says.
“The magical energies of confidence and the return of the sun are perfect for the zest of the orange. Amaretto wards against evil, and bourbon brings prosperity and balance. Putting that together, the magical math, if you will, sounds like the perfect recipe to welcome back the sun,” Blackthorn concludes.
Want to create this delightfully delicious Yule cocktail at home? Check out the full recipe below.
Want more ideas for Yule? Check out our bestselling gifts at Enchantments here.
Need a last minute gift for the holidays? Here are a few of our trending & bestselling items, available online or in the Enchantments shop.
From the latest books to Moon Calendars, hand-carved candles, salt baths, and more, we've got something for every witch on your list.
Llewellyn's 2021 Witches' Datebook (available in-store at Enchantments or online here)
A must-have for the new year and a perfect holiday gift, this witches' datebook is currently flying off the shelves at Enchantments. Complete with illustrations from award-winning artist Jennifer Hewitson and ways to celebrate the Wheel of the Year, the datebook also contains spells, Celtic tree months, seasonal yoga poses, recipes, and magical tips.
Moon Calendar Poster by Margins Imprint (available in-store at Enchantments or online here)
Screen-printed in California and made with water and soy based inks, these Moon Calendars sell out at Enchantments nearly every year. They're affordable and look fabulous with or without a frame. Get it before the New Year drops, when we can collectively say good riddance to 2020.
Blackthorn's Botanical Brews (available in-store at Enchantments or online here)
Eager to conjure up something magically delicious for Yule? Amy Blackthorn's latest title is a new favorite amongst Enchantments' customers. Complete with festive recipes and savory kitchen witchin' sippins, impress your social-distant friend pod with a sampling from this book. Like the other items in the list, this book is also flying clear off our wooden shelves, so call the shop for availability. While you're at it, check out her Botanical Magic book, too.
Solar Blast Candle (Handcrafted, customized, and available in-store or online here)
2020 is the kind of year that makes you wish you had the supernatural powers of Samantha Stephens from Bewitched and could wiggle your swabbed nose and have it just be over already (or the fury of Nancy from The Craft, if that's your kink). But fret not, real magic is still possible. Solar Blast candles are especially popular around this time of year because they promote joy, vitality, energy, and growth. And let's face it, we all need a heavy dose of all those things.
Moonology Diary (available in-store or online here)
New for 2021 (thank the Gods & Goddesses), this Moonology Diary is a great tool for astrology lovers seeking to harness the Moon's power for positive change. Set intentions for the lunar cycles, manifest goals for each month, learn how to work with the four eclipses and Super Moons in 2021, and get the low down on the rare "Great Conjunction" (an astrological event that will bring about big shifts and release in this upcoming year). A favorite among customers, come by to get it fresh off the press in the Enchantments shop!
Orishas, Goddesses, and Voodoo Queens
Complete with fascinating tales of orishas and goddesses from African and Afro-Caribbean religions (including Lucumi and Haitian Vodou), as well as insight into world famous Voodoo Queens, Lilith Dorsey’s latest book is filled with ritual tips, folklore, practical recipes, spells, offerings, and more. Orishas, Goddesses, and Voodoo Queens pays homage to these sacred, yet often misunderstood practices. By looking to women of color to “elucidate the intersectionality” of goddess spirituality and feminism, Dorsey points out that "modern women seriously need ways to connect with, and understand, their ancestral warrior strengths and power. "
Sea Priestess Candle (Handcrafted, customized and available in-store or online here)
Invoke the healing power of the Great Ocean Mother with a customized, 7-day Sea Priestess Candle. This deep blue, hand-carved candle is good for deep emotional healing and rebirth. What better way to end this year than a healing ritual dedicated to the nurturing, yet fierce power of the Ocean Mother. You can also pair the candle with hand-blended oil here. *Note: this candle is not available in a kit, but you can order the full candle online or shop in-store.
Spellwork for Self-Care (available in-store or online here)
This enchanted new book by Potter Gift offers 40 spells that infuse health & wellness with a dose of magic. As a mystical guidebook, it takes an "old-fashioned approach to the practice of self-soothing" and addresses our societal hunger for alternate paths to more a conscious, fulfilling life. Topics range from work/life balance to relationships, herbal home remedies, and more. A new bestseller among Enchantments' customers.
Hand-blended Salt Baths (available in-store or online here)
Made in-house with magickal oils and dried herbs, our sea salt baths are great for a long, meditative soak in the tub on a cold winter's day. Choose from Divine Muse (great for artists and creative inspiration), Peace & Protection, Prosperity, Rebirth, Sun, Van Van and more. At $5 each online, they also make great gifts.
Want more stories and gift ideas? Check out our 2020 staff book picks here.
By Amber C. Snider
Bath recipes, incense blends, and rituals to help get you through the winter months.
As we inch our way towards the Winter Solstice, celebrating nature’s cycles may seem harder to bear this year. For many, 2020 has already seemed like one long, drawn out night. But sometimes the shadows can reveal deeper knowledge and profound magic.
We don’t have to let isolation, loneliness, or fear take away our inner light. Here are ways you can alleviate winter blues, promote joy, and find peace this winter season.
We love our salt baths baths, oh yes we do. Winter is the perfect time to begin or return to your ritual bath practice. Not only does it provide physical warmth and comfort, but it’s a powerfully meditative and magical time to connect with yourself and the spirit world.
Here are some hand-blended salt bath blends for winter:
Peace of Mind (purchase from shop here) –– Calms the mind and helps you let go of stress
Psyche’s Balm Bath (purchase from shop here) –– Uplifting blend to help sooth a restless mind and spirit; Helps promote emotional balance during tough times
Hecate (purchase from shop here) –– Devotional blend to Hecate; Great for new moon rituals
Peace & Protection Bath (purchase from shop here) –– Promotes of feeling security and peace
Sun Bath (purchase from shop here) –– To promote energy, vitality, and honor the return of the Sun
Or make your own blend at home: Try adding a few drops of bergamot oil (for a citrusy stimulation), patchouli, musk, rosemary, or clove (all oils can be ordered online at the Enchantments shop here) to 1-2 cups of sea salt or epsom salt (don't use table salt). Next, mix in fresh or dried herbs/flowers of your choice w/ the salt or place directly in the bath water. Soak in your magic.
Quick at-home recipe recommendation: Enchantments’ witch Kristi Klein recommends creating your own bath blend using fresh flowers (usually roses), sea salt, and Helen of Troy oil (which is used to bring out inner beauty).
Signature Hand-Blended Incense
Start the day by burning incense in your home to promote good vibes, especially while you work from home. For the cold winter months, we especially love: Yule, Sun (“It’s very uplifting and always helps to shift my mood,” says Kristi Klein), Egyptian Temple incense, House Blessing incense, Meditation incense, Relaxation incense, and Winter Woods Incense. All incense blends can be purchased at the online shop here or in-person during business hours. Simply add a tablespoon or less of incense into a fire-proof dish (no charcoal required) and touch fire to it.
Or create your own version at home: Sacred smoke is great for cleansing the energy of your home, raising vibrations, promoting good spirits, and clearing out stagnation. Try burning Frankincense, Myrrh, or Copal resin on a piece of charcoal to start the day and end the evening.
Also known as psychological acupressure, EFT may help alleviate anxiety, stress, and balance your energy systems. If you’ve never tried it before, here’s an article from Well + Good that explains more.
Enchantments’ witch Kristi Klein says that EFT tapping has helped reset her mind and clear out negative thought patterns and beliefs. “I’ve definitely been struggling with loneliness myself, so I’ve gotten back into EFT tapping. I also listen to a lot of binaural beats while mentally chanting a mantra,” she says. “Usually something like ‘I am grounded, safe, and loved.’”
DIY Oil Blends
Enchantments is home to countless essential and fragrance oils, perfect for mixing into baths, salt blends, or perfumes. Check out our simple guide to magical oils here and learn about how the power of scent can transform your mood.
For bath: Add a few drops of your favorite scent directly into the water. Try birch, bay, cedar, eucalyptus, lemon, and/or sage clary essential oil. Essential and fragrance oils can be purchased online here.
Diffusers: Add 5-7 drops of a fragrance oil into your diffuser and bask in the aroma. Try all spice, apple blossom, bergamot, cinnamon, fig, frankincense, tea rose, or tobacco. “Clove oil is always nice for a warm boost,” says Klein.
To wear: Combine a few drops from any of the 2-3 oils above with carrier oil (such as Jojoba, rose hip seed oil, or coconut oil) in order to dilute before applying to the skin.
7-Day Spell Candles
If you're a newcomer to candle magick, that's okay. Check out our FAQ about spell candles and Part II here, as well as our dedicated Candle Magick section to learn more. Each candle is hand-carved in the shop, customized with your name, astrological sign, and dressed with hand-blended oils and incense.
We especially love the following spell candles during the winter time, since they each promote self-love, happiness, inner wisdom, and help promote feelings of security and warmth.
Solar Blast (purchase online here) –– Helps the Sun come through to cleanse, purge and rejuvenate your entire being. Provides positive energy for all your endeavors.
Heart Chakra Candle (purchase online here) –– For cleansing, healing, balancing and strengthening the heart chakra. This chakra is associated with love, self-love, acceptance, balance, intimacy, compassion and relationships.
Root Chakra Candle (purchase online here) –– One of our favorite candles for 2020. Read an in-depth feature on how to balance your root chakra here, complete with an exclusive root chakra ritual from Enchantments.
Love & Happiness Candle (purchase online here) –– Much like a solar blast, this candle focuses on bringing an abundance of love and joy into your life. Paves the way for new friendships and/or relationships, memorable moments with loved ones and increased self-love.
Great Mother Candle (purchase online here) –– A devotional candle for the Goddess
Purple Wisdom Candle (purchase online here) –– For gaining wisdom in the ancient sciences such as astrology, hermetic magic, Qabalah and other magickal systems. Also for divine insight in making decisions.
Want to read more? Here's another article on how to practice self-love during hard times.
Curl up with your favorite witchy brew and any one of these 10 delicious new reads for 2020. Here are our staff picks to help you enhance your intuitive skills, earth-based practices, ancestral magic, and more.
Orishas, Goddesses, and Voodoo Queens, The Divine Feminine in the African Religious Traditions by Lilith Dorsey
Complete with fascinating tales of orishas and goddesses from African and Afro-Caribbean religions (including Lucumi and Haitian Vodou), as well as insight into world famous Voodoo Queens, Dorsey’s latest book is filled with ritual tips, folklore, practical recipes, spells, offerings, and more. Orishas, Goddesses, and Voodoo Queens both honors and pays homage to these sacred, yet often misunderstood practices. By looking to women of color to “elucidate the intersectionality” of goddess spirituality and feminism, Dorsey points out that "modern women seriously need ways to connect with, and understand, their ancestral warrior strengths and power. " *A staff favorite and top pick for 2020.
Witch Hunt: A Traveler's Guide to the Power and Persecution of the Witch by Kristen J. Sollée
Author of Cat Call: Reclaiming the Feral Feminine and the wildly popular Witches, Sluts, Feminists, Sollée’s latest title (released this fall) combines memoir and travel with a historical deep dive on witch trials around the U.S. and Europe. Read our interview with her here for more.
Tarot: No Questions Asked Mastering the Art of Intuitive Reading Practical Techniques and Exercises by Theresa Reed
In her latest book, “Tarot Lady” Theresa Reed offers an intuitive workbook for those seeking insight into the tarot, including interpretations of individual cards and spreads. Designed to “hone your intuition and sharpen your interpretation skills,” even without previous knowledge of the deck, this book is great for beginners and advanced practitioners alike who seek to broaden their reading abilities. Read Enchantments' interview with Theresa Reed, on her previous book co-authored with Shaheen Miro, Tarot for Troubled Times, here.
Queering Your Craft by Cassandra Snow
Written to "specifically address the needs of those who are queer, marginalized, living in the shadows, or on the edge of acceptance," Cassandra Snow's refreshing new book explores magick with an LGBTQ+ point of view. As an introduction to witchcraft, Queering Your Craft contains both a grimoire of spells, types of magick, meditations, best practices and more –– all while combining queer aesthetic and DIY culture.
Entering Hekate’s Garden The Magick, Medicine and Mystery of Plant Spirit Witchcraft by Cyndi Brannen
Author of Keeping Her Keys, Cyndi Brannen’s latest title explores plant spirit rituals and practical tips for using sixty botanicals associated with Hekate, including bay laurel, birch, dandelion, hawthorn, juniper, American mandrake, skullcap, pomegranate, and more. “Poetry, petitions, and musings about pharmakeia are woven throughout,” blending personal musings of the goddess with ancient traditions. An insightful homage to the Goddess of the Moon and honored Crone figure, readers looking to “enter Hekate’s garden” need look no further.
A Woman’s Ayurvedic Herbal A Guide for Natural Health and Well-Being by Antonia Beattie and Caroline Robertson
In a world where women’s health issues are often overlooked and under researched, Beattie and Robertson’s full-color A-Z guide to Ayurvedic herbs and spices is a welcomed relief, especially in 2020. This practical guide is filled with herbal histories and uses, home remedies, and accessible ways to apply ancient Ayurvedic principles to women's daily heath.
Blackthorn’s Botanical Magic: The Green Witch’s Guide to Essential Oils for Spellcraft, Ritual & Healing by Amy Blackthorn
While it’s not new for 2020, Blackthorn’s Botanical Magic has become a witch’s staple on the bookshelf. With 135 essential oil recipes, this book will keep you busy all winter long: learn about the healing power of scents, ritual tips, practical advice for purchasing, blending, and storing oils at home, and how magical aromatherapy can enhance your spellwork. Blackthorn's latest 2020 title, Botanical Brews, will have you conjuring delicious cocktails, recipes, and brews all winter long.
Year of the Witch Connecting with Nature’s Seasons through Intuitive Magic by Temperance Alden
Founder of Wild Woman Witchcraft, Temperance Alden’s new title (released in November 2020) is packed with cultural and historical facts about the major ceremonies connected to neo-paganism, basic principles of earth-based magick, and nuanced approaches to celebrating the rhythms of nature. She also covers how to “intuitively connect to the nature below your feet and local gods,” as well as uncovers the origins of the wheel of the year.
Wild Wisdom Zen Masters, Mountain Monks, and Rebellious Eccentrics Reflect on the Healing Power of Nature by Neil Douglas-Klotz
Perfect for the gifting season, Wild Wisdom includes the “stories and voices of desert fathers and mothers, forest hermits, mountain mystics, wandering philosophers, and wise eccentrics who maintained their solitude while living in society and challenged the status quo with humor.” With selections from international mystics like Kahlil Gibran, Henry David Thoreau, Bai Juyi, John Muir, and Edna St. Vincent Millay, this inspirational little book is great for those seeking solace in the wild expanse of nature and within the great minds of the past.
Backwoods Witchcraft Conjure & Folk Magic from Appalachia by Jake Richards
A great read for the deep, cold winter months, Richards’ Backwoods Witchcraft may not be new to 2020, but it’s worth a revisit this year. A deeply moving tribute to the Appalachian traditions of the U.S., this book explores the folklore, conjure magick, and the power of homegrown witchcraft. Read Enchantments' exclusive interview with Jake Richards on the making of the book here.
For more book recommendations and roundups, check out the Books section of our website.
By Victor Castro
Balance and "tune" your root chakra with this at-home ritual.
Just as trees and plants are "rooted" in the earth, our spiritual energy (especially when working magic) needs to be grounded and balanced, as well. The root chakra governs our sense of wellbeing, safety, and stability in the world. Associated with the color red and earth element, the root chakra is known as Mūlādhāra in Sanskrit and considered the foundation for all other chakras.
Root Chakra Ritual
––1 Rose of Jericho
––1 goal/specific intention (optional)
––1 wide mouthed glass bowl
––1 crystal/stone/gem that aligns with courage or willpower (Carnelian, in this case)
––Good Earth incense
1. Cleanse bowl with Good Earth incense
2. Fill bowl with distilled water to cover half of Rose of Jericho
3. Place dab of Master oil on tip of stone and place in hand
4. LAM chant 15 times, envisioning your root chakra growing brighter and turning like a wheel. (You can listen to the chant w/ music here on Youtube).
5. Each morning for 7 days, wake up and perform LAM chant while holding your crystal in front of your pelvis with both hands.
6. Each evening, meditate and hold space to acknowledge negative thought patterns and habits that affect your courage –– and then will these negative patterns or blocks down the drain, as you dispose of the water from the bowl each day.
7. Correlate the blooming of the rose to your root chakra through journaling/sketches and carry it with you.
8. After 7 days, you should have performed 108 LAM mantras, a number sacred to Vedic cultures that equates to “the wholeness of existence.”
Enchantments' witch Kristi Klein recommends the following tips, as well: "My favorite thing to do to balance my Root Chakra is rubbing Good Earth oil on the soles of my feet. It's especially helpful before bed because that’s when my anxiety tends to spike. I sometimes also take a red figure candle and carve the Root Chakra symbol into it (and dress it with Good Earth), in order to help visualize myself being grounded.
Also just standing barefoot on the dirt ground is great for balancing your Root and realigning your system. I know that’s hard to do in major cities, but a friend once recommended getting organic soil and putting it in a flower pot that’s big enough to put my feet into. It's an alternative to going to a busy, crowded (city) park and standing barefoot in the grass," adds Klein.
Click here to read more on chakra candle magic and rituals from Enchantments.
By Amber C. Snider
Kristen Sollée discusses the spiritual and ancestral power of place, witches of the ancient world, and her most memorable experiences while traveling for her new book, Witch Hunt.
In her latest book, author Kristen Sollée guides readers on a mystical journey to uncover the legacy of the witch figure across Europe and North America. Part memoir, part travelogue, Witch Hunt (which debuted earlier this month) explores both the power and persecution of the witch, offering historical insight into witch hunts in Italy, France, Germany, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Amber C. Snider: Have you ever come across a place (while working on this book or otherwise) where you felt you've always known it in some way? And that it was profoundly familiar?
Kristen Sollée: Absolutely. That feeling is one I have often encountered, and it was a driving force behind writing Witch Hunt. I wanted to tap into the magic of place with this book, and the energies and entities one might pick up on in different locations.
A memorable example of this experience is how I’ve always taken so effortlessly to London ever since I first visited almost 15 years ago. I never felt uneasy, I never felt lost, it just seemed 'right.' There was a calm that overtook me the first time I walked the city’s streets. All I can say is that it’s probably because I have a lot of ancestry from there, that it was a real return for me.
ACS: Do you think we have spiritual or soul attachments to different locations because of reincarnation?
KS: I definitely believe we can have spiritual connections to different locations, but for me it’s not about reincarnation but specifically ancestral connections. I know there is cellular memory within us, and I have felt a strong homecoming, an electricity throughout my body when I visit certain places. Through genealogical research, I have later come to realize that many of those places are where my ancestors have lived. Places are alive with the dead who once lived there, so in that sense, the land can be as much of an ancestor as a living person.
ACS: How would you describe the connection between mythology, the witch figure in history, and travel?
KS: Well I like to think of the witch as a traveler. Over thousands of years the witch has crossed continents, appearing in the art, literature, mythology, and magical practice of disparate cultures, shifting shape and imparting us with various ideas about sex and gender, magic and power along the way. Witch Hunt specifically focuses on the early modern European witch hunts and that legacy of persecution, so I am talking here more about the witch in the conceptual region we call 'the West,' because of course, witch figures exist in most cultures around the world.
Witches of the ancient world (Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome) are very different from the witch figures of medieval, early modern, and contemporary times, but they share similar attributes (often designated female/feminine, have magical abilities that are suspect/ feared/ subversive). The travel I undertook for the book research was a way to follow this serpentine path that the witch has taken from ancient times to the present. It allowed me to explore these links more than I could if I just sat at home, reading. There’s no substitute for seeing ruins and churches and landscapes that contributed to our understanding about what or who the witch is in art, literature, mythology, and magical practice.
Amber C. Snider: Out of the 'seven countries and forty-five cities, towns, and villages' you visited while conducting research for this book, what was your favorite location?
KS: It’s impossible to choose! I honestly don’t have a single favorite. But I have always loved traveling throughout Italy, and it was an equally wonderful place for 'witch travel.'
Triora in particular is a treat because the scenery, the history, and the town itself are just incredibly compelling. Perched high in the Italian Alps near the French border, Triora has often been deemed the 'Salem of the Mediterranean' because there are multiple museums dedicated to memorializing the town’s 16th century witch hunt and a lot of contemporary practitioners gather for rituals and neo-pagan festivals there. I arrived just in time for a beautiful Midsummer/Litha ritual when I visited, complete with early modern music and a fire ritual that snaked through the medieval stone streets.
ACS: What was the strangest experience you had while working on this book? Did anything out of the ordinary happen in your travels?
KS: There were many synchronicities and unexpected occurrences during my travels, it was a very strange research process overall. But I’d say that the ghost hunt I went on in Lancashire certainly was a wild experience. There were multiple spirit boards used during visits to centuries-old sites and a lot of messages came through that I was NOT expecting…
ACS: You 'debunk' a lot of myths and misconceptions about the Roman Catholic Church/Vatican in the chapter 'Witch's Guide to the Vatican.' Why was this an important component to include in the book?
KS: There’s so much misinformation about the witch hunts, and I continually find myself unlearning erroneous beliefs about the period the more I read. The Catholic Church figures in so many of these myths that I wanted to include a visit to the Vatican in the book.
Many accused witches in early modern times drew their rituals from Catholic liturgy and prayer (and often threw in a little something else from popular folk magic, too). You really can’t separate the witch hunts from their Christian context, nor our ideas about the archetypal witch. So I wanted to explore these ideas through the artifacts I found in the Vatican Museums. The art on view is just incredible, there is so much art that features pagan deities and symbology. You’ll see Sekhmet, Athena, Aphrodite, etc. around every corner! I think the biggest takeaway from my trip there was how the line between Christian and Pagan is blurry at best, as much as the clergy would like to pretend it’s not!
ACS: Was it difficult, from a writing perspective, to weave in your personal narrative and travel experience with historical anecdotes and information? What was that process like?
KS: I always write in an interdisciplinary way because I have a background that’s steeped in both arts journalism and academia, and I can never decide which discipline I prefer. There are plenty of witch books by historians if you want straight up history, and plenty of witch memoirs, but none so far that combine a travelogue, memoir, and academic analysis into a weird hybrid like I’ve done. My writing goal is always to try something new and put something out into the ether that hasn’t existed before (or that I always wished had existed!).
ACS: Which location from the book is often 'misunderstood'? And how does Witch Hunt offer new clarity and insight into that place?
KS: Well certainly the Vatican is not a place you’d think of when you’d want to partake in 'witch tourism,' so I like to think that I clarified why that is in the book! And more than that, I think Witch Hunt uncovers a lot of places that folks might not know have a witch history at all, like, say, Jamestown, Virginia or Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
ACS: You mention visiting an 800-year old oak tree in Lancashire, England. What drew you to that tree and what was your experience like there?
KS: Certainly anyone who partakes in nature-based magical practices does so because they can feel the majesty and energetic prowess inherent in the earth, in plants. In our language we talk about being 'grounded' and 'rooted' — so many of us are basically striving to have the properties that trees come by naturally!
In a variety of pre-Christian societies, trees were sacred in themselves and were believed to house certain deities. During my research I visited two trees that were over 500 years old, one in Tuscany and one in Nottingham. The one in Tuscany, Quercia delle Streghe or the Oak of the Witches, is so named because its branches look like a coven of witches in [a] ritual. The tree emits an incredible gravitas, I wrapped my arms around her and just breathed in and out for a little while. A really magical experience.
ACS: If there's one 'bucket list' location or site that every reader should visit from your book, what would it be? Once COVID-19 is eradicated and all...
KS: I would have to say that entirely depends on what that reader is interested in! But for Americans? I’m gonna give an obvious answer and say: definitely Salem if you haven’t been, as it’s such a vital place in terms of witchcraft history and in terms of understanding American culture within a religious and political context.
Kristen J. Sollée is the author of three books on the legacy of the witch: Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive; Cat Call: Reclaiming the Feral Feminine; and Witch Hunt: A Traveler’s Guide to the Power and Persecution of the Witch. A writer, curator, and educator exploring the intersections of art, gender, and occulture, Kristen has been featured on NPR and in The Guardian. She currently teaches at The New School in New York City.
You can purchase Witch Hunt here.
To read another Enchantments' interview with Kristen Sollée on her book Cat Call: Reclaiming the Feral Feminine, click here.
A new deck just in time for Samhain? Yes, please!
When the veil between the waking world and the dead is at its thinnest, what will you invoke?
Illustrated by Giada Rose with spirit evocations by Lorriane Anderson and poetry by Juliet Diaz, this 44-card oracle deck is a perfect way to “harness the intuitive power of the year”– especially on the sacred Day of the Dead.
Here’s a look inside this otherworldly deck…
Just in time for Witch’s New Year (one of the most magical nights of the year for divination and ancestral rituals), Seasons of the Witch helps connect you to the spirit realm and get in touch with your mystical side.
But honoring the spirit world isn’t reserved for one night only – that’s why we’re loving this deck. It contains spells and recipes to “make the most of Samhain energy” with a series of frame-worthy cards that are truly beautiful works of art. Learn how to meet your animal familiar, greet and honor powerful nature spirits, perform a graveyard ritual with your coven, or discover the wrath of the Banshee. As within, so without; as above, so below!
With the combined talents of the writers and illustrator, each with their own unique magical practice ranging from herbalism to earth-based arts and ancient folklore, this new Samhain-themed oracle deck is actually a treat for every season. The creators also bring magical insight from their cultural backgrounds, including Cuba, Romania, and Italy.
Deck published by Rockpool and distributed by Red Wheel/ Weiser. Deck debuts on October 26, 2020 in North America only. Photos republished with permission from Red Wheel/Weiser. To purchase Seasons of the Witch: Samhain Oracle click here.
By Amber C. Snider
Mercury retrograde doesn’t have to be a tense or chaotic time. It can be transformative if you know how to navigate it. Here, astrologer David Scoroposki offers advice on what to expect.
Sometimes it’s all too easy to blame it on the Moon – or, in this case, the planets. When Mercury appears to begin his backwards journey in the cosmos, witches everywhere begin to tense up and brace themselves for a bit of chaos. It’s time to backup your files, think before signing that big contract, and watch your tongue (aka communication, since Mercury is the messenger god after all). But it doesn’t have to be a “bad” or negative period, rather a time to slow down, take stock, and reflect.
“Mercury is typically in retrograde three or four times a year, for about three weeks each time. During this period, it’s best to avoid astrologers who talk too much about Mercury retrograde, and also, all those perpetually late people who love to place the blame on this much maligned planet,” says astrologer David Scoroposki. And he would know: He’s been offering astrological readings for over 15 years, including dishing out planetary advice to the “Crowned Heads of Europe."
“Mercury rules communication, technology, transportation, short trips, games, trickery, and places of business such as marketplaces and offices. Mercury retrograde is an excellent time to rework and revisit things, to spruce up a resume or reorganize a crowded space, for example,” Scoroposki continues. So if you’re thinking about revamping your bookshelves, clearing out desk space, going through work inventory, or decluttering your email inbox, now is the time.
“It’s also time when people show up from the past; and this can obviously be a good or a bad thing,” he says. That’s right, expect old exes to creep up and clamor for your attention, which may or may not be welcomed. Sometimes unexpectedly hearing from someone in your past can be triggering, especially if it opens old wounds that haven’t been fully healed. Mercury retrograde is actually a great time to confront that emotion in order to process it fully.
It’s like the universe giving you another chance to learn from your past situations, and since you already know that it’s part of this transit, you can have a game plan in place ahead of time. That way, you’re unbothered and chill when you see their name pop up across your phone screen and can decide whether you truly want them in your life or not.
“Mercury is genderless and both 'good and evil' depending upon the sign in which it resides and the transits it makes—it’s color is the rainbow, or all colors, because Mercury is ever changing," says Scoroposki. "If you must sign an important document during Mercury Retrograde, be sure to ‘read the fine print’ and pay attention to details—you may have to revisit this project soon."
Scoroposki also recommends watching your travel times and to expect minor delays. “Leave extra time for public transit—and reread emails and written correspondence. Be tactful. Mercury retrograde can work with you if you work with it—it’s a time to revise and reorganize—not to fear or to pander to astrological stereotypes that make excuses for bad behavior."
Here are 7 witchy tools to help you stay grounded during Mercury Retrograde:
––Take a cleansing sea salt bath. Here are Enchantments' hand-blended options.
––Burn Motivation oil or incense while you clean up and declutter your space.
––Burn Relaxation oil or incense before bedtime. Meditate on healing, tranquility, and inner peace.
––Add a quick journal exercise to your morning routine. Simply taking 5 minutes a day to log your emotions and track feelings can help offer inner clarity. You can also begin to see patterns emerge over time in order to see where you’re going and what you’d like to change or shift.
––Do a small Uncrossing candle (kit here) to clear out negativity or anything that’s no longer serving your higher power.
––Burn Palo Santo or Frankincense resin in the home to raise your spiritual vibrations.
––Try a Heart Chakra 7-day candle or Crystal Healing candle to help heal old wounds in regards to love and open up new space for understanding & compassion.
To contact David Scoroposki for a personalized astrological reading, email him at Scoroposki.email@example.com. For more stories on how to clear out negative energy, click here or to learn more about chakra candles, click here.
By Amber C. Snider
Halloween is one of the most popular holidays in the United States, but its roots go back to an ancient Celtic Harvest festival known as Samhain.
Samhain, also referred to as the Witches’ New Year and pronounced “sow-win,” was a major festival in the Celtic tradition that took place on the night of October 31st through November 1st. The holiday marks the end of the harvest season and the approaching winter. It was believed to be a time when the veil between the living and the dead was at its thinnest, which meant spirits were not only free to roam the earth, but also communicate with the living.
Humans could call upon their ancestors for guidance and used this midpoint between the seasons to honor the spirits through a series of rituals and festivities (including bonfires, feasts, sacrifices) that often lasted for three days and three nights. The Celts often set out offerings in the form of food, drinks, and beloved tokens to honor their dead.
But with all those ghostly souls freely roaming around the earth, some may have been unwanted or even malevolent – and that’s where the tradition of dressing up came in. “According to the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, Celts began the Halloween tradition of wearing costumes, often animal skin to hide themselves from spirits, and masks to impersonate ancestors who had preceded them to the spirit world,” reports National Geographic editor Debra Adams Simmons. It’s this practice that led to our current tradition of dressing up in scary costumes to ward away any malicious spooks.
Early evidence shows us that not only was this an important holiday for the Celts, it was also mandatory for the community. While the other seasonal holidays celebrated rebirth and the renewal of life, Samhain was a festival for the dead. Despite the desecration of many ancient pagan practices over the centuries, Samhain has survived as “Halloween” in our secular, modern culture.
In another region of the world, in what is now modern day Mexico, the ancient peoples’ also conducted rituals and held festivals to honor their dead. Dia de los Muertos (also known as the Day of the Dead) is a syncretization of Indigenous American beliefs with those of the Roman Catholic Church, culminating in All Saints’ Day (November 1st) and All Souls’ Day (November 2nd) on the Catholic calendar – just as Samhain coincides with Halloween.
So while you’re carving pumpkins, rewatching Practical Magic, or dressing up for the festivities over the next two weeks, remember to take some time out to also honor those who have passed on and all those ancestors who’ve shaped you into the person you are today. The honoring of the dead is at the heart of Samhain, as well as paying homage to our long lineage of human life.
Blessings to all this Samhain!
By Amber C. Snider
A brief introduction to the seven chakras and chakra candles.
As spiritual beings living in a physical form, maintaining our sense of balance in the midst of all the chaos “out there” (COVID, school, work, finances, politics, fear, anxiety) can feel extra tough. That’s why the ancient Eastern spiritual idea, philosophy, and sacred practice of chakra work can be particularly powerful right now.
This tradition (or sacred knowledge) was first mentioned over 3500 years ago in the ancient Sanskrit texts known as the Vedas. In the Vedic texts, written between 1500-1200 BCE, the chakra system consists of 7 centers (or layers). There’s a “circular” nature to each chakra and sometimes these energy points can become blocked or stagnant. These physical and spiritual energetic centers are always in spinning motion (think of the spiral) and can be likened to the structure of the universe itself, with it’s planets and galaxies bristling and pulsating with energy. In these first scriptures of Hinduism, the “Chakra is also used to denote the energy centers in the spinal region of the body and the mystic diagrams (yantras) which are used in ritual worship.” In contemporary times, the concept of chakras has continued to evolve to embrace color associations and symbolism, especially in color magick.
The 7 chakras are as follows:
––The Root Chakra: Associated with the color red and symbolized by a lotus flower. It’s located at the base of the spine/pelvic floor and helps with feeling secure and grounded.
––The Sacral Chakra: Associated with the color orange, it governs our sexual organs, emotional stability, sensuality and creativity.
––The Solar Plexus Chakra: Associated with the color yellow, it’s located in the abdomen and governs our self-confidence, identity, ego.
––The Heart Chakra: Associated with the color green or pink, the Heart Chakra is located in the heart area/chest center and governs our sense of love, compassion, and understanding.
––The Throat Chakra: Associated with the color blue, it’s located in the neck area and governs communication.
––The Third Eye Chakra: Associated with a deep purple color, it’s located on the forehead and governs the all-seeing eye, including inspiration, intuition, and clairvoyant knowledge.
––And finally, the Crown Chakra: Associated with purple or pure white, the Crown Chakra governs spiritual awareness and our connection to the Divine.
After quickly reading through these descriptions, maybe you’ve already identified one or more of these chakras that may be “blocked” in some way. Perhaps you’ve found yourself in a series of miscommunications with others or feeling misunderstood lately (Throat Chakra), or battling deep emotional issues that keep coming back up (Sacral Chakra), or maybe your spiritual journey feels stagnant and you’re having trouble tapping into your “higher self” (Third Eye or Crown Chakra). According to this sacred tradition, if a chakra point gets out of balance or stuck, it can affect the flow of all your energy. For instance, if your Root Chakra is blocked or out of balance, it can affect your Crown Chakra, etc. Just as the blood moves through the body’s limbs, our spiritual energy also has to flow without impediment.
Meditating on your chakra points and clearing away negative or stagnant energy can be profoundly healing. It provides balance in the body, mind, and spirit so that we are in alignment with our truth. Candle magick is one way to rebalance and open your chakra points to allow for positive, energetic flow. 7-day chakra candles burn for 7-10 days straight, so they can be a great tool to help you with meditative visualizations and light exercises (color) to help open up these points.
Here’s a tip: Begin your chakra candle work by taking a ritual bath with sea salt, herbs, and essential oils of your choice (more on that here). Get specific about which energetic center you’d like to work on. If it’s the Root Chakra, for instance, visualize a deep, rich red color in your lower spine area and pelvic floor. Imagine that healing light releasing tension and “opening” that chakra point. When you’re ready to light the candle, continue the light visualization while the candle is burning. Meditate while the candle is burning (add music, chants, mantras that are specific and personal to you). Be open to receiving any “knowledge” that comes during this meditative time, send yourself healing light, ask for Guidance from your spirit guides or Universe, work on releasing any negative ties or stagnation. Continue daily (you don’t have to repeat the ritual bath) until the candle is fully burned out.
Blessed be and stay tuned for more stories on chakra candles available at Enchantments. To purchase a 7-day chakra candle, click here.
By Amber C. Snider
Here are some “Back to School” spells to help you regain your focus, amplify your creativity, reduce stress, and manifest success this fall season.
Autumn's return feels just a little different this year, right? Whether you’re a student, parent, or educator, the typical “Back to School” jitters can feel more stressful than exciting this time around. Perhaps you’re stressing over the decision to send your kids back to school or maybe you’re navigating homeschooling/virtual learning for the first time. Even with all your preparations and plans, it can all still feel overwhelming. But that doesn’t mean academic success isn’t possible, even in a year as crazy as 2020.
Here are some age-appropriate tips for students, educators, and parents to start this new school year with a touch of magick, intention, and inspiring spellwork.
For all-around academic success at any age...
Enchantments recommends using the Emperor Candle or Academic Success Kit. The Emperor candle is about expansion, divine guidance, luck, and growing confident in your work. It's great for when you really need to 'hunker down' and get a project completed.
The 7-day Emperor candle is especially good for those preparing for a big exam, long research project, and/or bringing recognition for a job well done. The Academic Success Kit , a smaller version of the Emperor with candles that burn between 7-12 hours, helps promote intellectual pursuits.
For Art Students & Artists...
Success in the Arts kit is a great tool for those in the performing arts or creative industries. For those working on a specific creative project and need a little “inspirational boost” try the Song of the Elder Gods 7-day candle (especially great for artists, musicians and performers; provides inspiration, focus and creativity and helps to achieve success) or Song of the Elder Goddess (a Goddess-based candle for creativity, inspiration and success in the arts).
To invoke the creative muse while you’re working on a project, try Divine Muse oil (or Divine Muse Bath) or Inspiration oil.
For Elementary School Students...
It’s tough for kids to sit in front of a screen all day, especially when they’re missing the social interactions of their peers. If you’re a parent who practices magick with your wee witch, try doing a 7-day Solar Blast Candle together (or kit). It promotes happiness, friendship, growth, and positivity all around by invoking the energies of the sun.
You can also try using Sun Oil in a diffuser during the day to encourage these qualities and keep the energy in the home positive. For bath time, try a Sun Bath (a solar blend for energy, positivity, vitality, inner strength, and self-confidence). For Pagan families looking for age-appropriate magical reading material for younger minds, check out the beautiful book Wee Witches, by Ted Enik and Beth Roth.
For Junior High Students...
Honestly, if you could do it all over again, would you go back to middle school? (I can hear you cackling through the screen right now shaking your head NO). Middle school is a tough time because kids are figuring out who they are, where they fit into the world, and developing a stronger sense of self. With all that pressure, sometimes their self-esteem can take a hefty hit, especially if they’re trying to make a good impression.
Try the Self-Esteem Kit, which comes with two 120 candles, self-esteem oil, and a sample hand-blended incense. It’s great for clearing negative emotions, as well as promoting self-love and self confidence. Star oil also helps attract new friends and gain recognition.
For High School/College Students...
The Academic Success Kit (or 7-day Emperor candle) is also great for high schoolers and college students, as well as the Solar Blast Candle and Self-Esteem kit.
For stressful times (especially when SAT prep comes along, college apps, and exams), try incorporating ritual baths into your practice. Some great baths for academic success include Crucible of Courage Bath (which helps in facing and overcoming fears, building courage and inner strength), Fast Luck Bath (increases luck in all areas), and/or High Conquering Bath (also known as High John the Conqueror) which attracts luck in all areas and strength to overcome obstacles.
Try a 7-day Success Candle (or the kit here) or the Peace & Protection 7-day candle (or kit here). The Success candle promotes success in all areas, but as with any magick, you have to add/focus on your specific intention. Perhaps you want a successful school year in general, success with navigating virtual learning, or success in overcoming a specific difficulty or new challenge.
The Peace & Protection 7-day candle (or kit or bath) is great for reigning in a sense of calm during challenging times, as well as preventing physical or psychic attack. But remember folks, magick does not and cannot create some invisible shield to make you invincible from a disease like COVID-19 – so in addition to your spellwork, be smart: keep your hands clean, wear a mask, and practice safe social distancing. It should go without saying, but it's a good reminder.
For anyone in academia...
Stress Relief & Relaxation Kit can help bring serenity and peace of mind. All Enchantments kits come with two 120 candles (which burn for about 7-12 hours), a dram of oil, and a sample hand-blended incense. You can use the contents of this kit for short ritual and also keep the dram of oil to use (as you would perfume) throughout the month when you need a dose of calm.
You can also add magickal oils to your daily routine by diffusing them in your work/study space, anointing yourself with them (as you would perfume), or adding a few drops to your bath. Some great ones to try are Concentration oil, High Conquering oil, Crown of Success oil, Jupiter Oil, Motivation Oil, and Star oil.
Want to try herbal magick? Check out our new series here.
By Carmen Pouerie
Life isn’t always “love and light” and not every situation needs a silver lining. Here’s why all vibes are welcome here.
I recently came across a term I’ve never heard before: toxic positivity. It intrigued me and I searched the internet for more information on the subject. The Pagan community on Instagram did not fail me. There were endless memes and posts about this exact topic.
My research led me to understand that it is often used when you are expressing thoughts or emotions that express anything that is not positive (like feelings of sadness, discomfort, or anger) and the person you are venting to then dismisses your words as negative. I’m sure you’ve experienced this before. You’ll pour your heart out and someone will simply say “Look on the bright side” or “Find the silver lining in a situation.” Or maybe they advise you to work harder on your situation (without taking into account your unique struggles) and you’re left feeling worse than before.
For most of my spiritual journey, I’ve been bombarded by this idea of “love and light.” And to be quite honest, it just never seemed to work for me. It’s very hard to think positively all the time. But does that make me less of a “spiritual” person? Not as "good" as others? Is my spiritual approach flawed in some way? But then, I learned about Shadow work and it resonated with me on a very deep level.
Shadow work is a process that works by letting yourself feel and understand the painful aspects of yourself (or your situation), thus embracing yourself as a whole being, both light and dark. By seeing the uglier side of humanity, we can then learn to appreciate the true beauty of this world. If your spiritual belief lacks the inclusion of your shadow self, you are essentially denying 50% of life as we know it. The world we live in is an eternal balance of opposites. Life and death. Summer and winter. Light and dark. To deny half of yourself because it looks or feels unpleasant eventually leads to imbalanced and discordant energy.
All beings are experiencing life through the lens of their perception. So we must be compassionate and show empathy to all, regardless of where they are on their journey. Loving yourself, even on those bad days, nurtures growth and leads to gentle healing. When we ignore our darker nature, we are treating half of ourselves like a castaway.
Not every situation needs a silver lining. Sometimes the hard truth is required. Realizing that we can get through something and also have a support system that will let you ‘cry it out’ is more healing than just denying or dismissing the reality of a situation. Sometimes it’s okay to vent. It’s okay to not feel light and love and airy and magickal all the time. It’s okay to accept that sometimes you just feel like shit and that’s where you’re at in the moment. It doesn’t make you less spiritual. It doesn’t make you less of a witch or less woke – it just makes you human.
Instead, let us validate each other with love and kindness, no matter where we are on our path. Let’s allow ourselves and our loved ones to experience negative thoughts without judgment, without any added guilt or shame. By acknowledging our Shadow self, maybe we can get through the rough patches with new understanding – instead of dismissing it and covering it up. And if we’re truly acknowledging feelings like pain, anger, and fear (and those feelings in others), maybe those issues won’t come back to haunt us later on.
Witch Tip: Burning a Crystal Healing candle helps to acknowledge those emotions and process them in a healthy manner.
We’re all probably guilty of doing this to others, too. So here are a few ways you can stop yourself from falling into the “toxic positivity” trap:
––Rather than say “Just be positive” to a friend who’s going through something, try saying “I hear you/feel you. That must be really hard.”
–– Instead of saying "Don't be so negative," try saying "It's normal to feel bad about situations like these."
–– Don't tell a friend that "happiness is a choice" after they tell you a sad story. Try to do or say something that makes your friend happy at that moment.
–– Telling a friend to "get over it" doesn't help. Instead, remind them that they have dealt with difficult situations in the past and that they're strong enough to handle anything that comes their way.
–– Sometimes you don't have to say anything. Just being there and listening is enough.
When we make space for our loved ones to vent to us, we are showing them that we accept them just as they are. We silently tell them that their mental state does not denote how much they are worth. All vibes are welcome here.
For more stories on shadow work, check out this interview with tarot experts Shaheen Miro and Theresa Reed.