By Amber C. Snider
Here we uncover the origins and mysteries of cross-pantheon Gods and Goddess from around the world.
Aphrodite (aka Venus in the Roman tradition) has long been the muse of artists, creators, and of course lovers for thousands of years. Her most famous artistic depiction comes from the master sculptor Alexandros of Antioch circa 150 BCE, in the ancient Greek sculpture known around the world as Venus de Milo. The 2170 year old marble statue is currently displayed at the Louvre in Paris and depicts the half-clothed goddess in a sensual form that speaks to the Greeks' ideal of beauty. Perhaps the other most famous depiction of the Goddess comes from Sandro Botticelli's masterpiece The Birth of Venus, which hints at her origin story. The Renaissance painting shows her emerging from the sea with a shell under her feet as her long hair coyly (yet barely) covers her slender body. The wind God Zephyr blows air on her from the left, while the Goddess of Spring stands to her right with a cloak in hand ready to cover her naked form.
Aphrodite's mythological origins aren't all happiness, joy, and beauty though –– in fact, one origin tale is actually pretty gruesome. In ancient Greek mythology, Gaia and Uranus has a Titan son named Cronus. Cronus, with the help of his mother Gaia, rebelled against his father Uranus and castrated him, flinging his severed testicles into the ocean. His sperm made the sea bubble and froth and from those foamy waters, Aphrodite emerged as a fully-formed Goddess. Another story dated shortly after (commonly attributed to Homer), says the Goddess was born from the ocean nymph Dione and Zeus.
Aphrodite took on several lovers, although she was married to Hera's lamed son Hephaestus, an Olympian God associated with fire, craftsmanship, metalwork. Talented and strong though he was, he was considered ugly due to his clubfoot, and the Goddess of Love found herself in the arms of Ares (the God of War), with whom she had many children. However, one of her most famous love affairs was with the beautiful yet tragic mortal Adonis.
Her passionate love affair with the moral Adonis began somewhat (well, very) strangely. Adonis' mother gave birth to him just moments before she was turned into a myrrh tree by the Gods. Spotting the infant and recognizing him as beautiful, Aphrodite wanted to keep him for herself, so she locked him away in a chest and handed him over to the Queen of the Dead, Persephone, for safe keeping –– or presumably until he became of age. During that time, the Goddess of the Underworld also fell in love with Adonis and refused to give him back. Zeus had to get involved and eventually a deal was struck: Adonis would spent part of the year in the Underworld with Persephone, part of the year with Aphrodite, and he could choose who to be with during the remaining four months of each year. Naturally, he chose the Goddess of Love during his free time and they spent several years wrapped in longing together, hunting, and roaming forests.
However, tragedy soon came lurking. During a hunting expedition, Adonis was killed by a wild boar. Running to her fallen lover, she pricked her foot on a white rose and her blood stained the flower to a crimson, red hue. The red rose, said to be the first of its kind in the world, came to symbolize passionate love and also Aphrodite's grief at the loss of her beautiful lover.
Today, even thousands of years later, Aphrodite is still revered, worshipped, and called upon in spellwork. She's associated with copper, the dove, pink (sometimes blue), the day Friday, and the number five. Modern witches invoke her energy for love and beauty spells, as well as self-love rituals. At Enchantments, there are several potions and candles dedicated to this Goddess energy, including Aphrodite Love Drawing Oil and Incense, Venus Incense and Oil (a shop favorite), Aphrodite Love Bath, the Goddess of Love Oil and Incense, and the Venus Candle and the Empress candle. Many of the shop's love-oriented candles are dressed with various oils inspired by the Goddess.
Beauty and self-love rituals are often dedicated to and inspired by Aphrodite. One way to honor the Goddess is to create an altar using a statue or image of her, seashells, blue or pink crystals, rose petals, hand-carved pink, white, or blue candles, and rose-scented oils. Spellwork involving love is best timed on a Friday and Venus also governs two zodiac signs, Libra and Taurus. Ritual baths that invoke sensuality (or simply as part of a self-care routine) can include sea salt, a few drops of Enchantments' love oils, and dried or fresh rose petals.
For more on our God and Goddess series, check out this story on the Goddess of the Crossroads, Sorcery, and the Moon.
By Amber C. Snider
Straight from the mind of tarot reader and Cosmopolitan contributor Sarah Potter, a dreamy new deck for the modern era appears.
Sarah Potter is all about sharing the magic with others. The Cosmo Deck, her latest collaboration with Cosmopolitan magazine, has a chic, psychedelic, and playful energy that puts a new spin on classic archetypes. It’s refreshing to see the women's magazine, which was first published in 1886, openly embrace astrology, witchcraft and magic, but especially so for tapping veterans like Potter to help. A long-time patron of the Enchantments shop and seasoned color magic practitioner, Potter has been working with the tarot since she was 12 years old, which is also around the same time she started reading Cosmo magazine. It feels serendipitous then for her to helm the deck’s guidebook.
The deck's imagery takes the layered symbolism found in the original tarot and translates it into intuitive, accessible images filled with faces, diamonds, astrological charts, and of course, the glittering night sky. Wands and rods have been transformed into keys, while swords have been converted into pens (because is there anything more powerful?). “I wanted it to be approachable and accessible without being dumbed down, and to honor the tarot as a tool for intuition,” she says. “Magic is special and otherworldly, but it’s also something that can be accessible and smart. I believe that tarot is for everyone,” she says.
Condensing all the varied meanings of the cards into a small guidebook is no easy feat, especially when each card has so many layers. And yet, that’s exactly what she did, using language that feels like getting advice from a best friend. “Tarot was such a big part of slumber parties growing up and I wanted the deck to be like another friend who’s joining the party, offering another perspective, and reminding you that you already know what to do. But sometimes you need that extra confirmation,” she says. “So I thought: How can I embody that energy and put it into this deck?”
Potter says she began the writing process by going back to the time when she picked up her first tarot deck as a teenager. “I was searching for answers and a better understanding of myself and the world around me. And also, I’m not gonna lie, I always wanted to know who had a crush on me and figured tarot could help me navigate love, too!” she adds. We’ve all combed through tarot spreads seeking love advice, but the tarot tends to reveal things we already know deep down, making it a powerful tool for intuition, as well as for divination. “Tarot has always helped me throughout my whole life,” says Potter. “Especially when I needed a reminder of my own inner wisdom.”
Potter loves the outcome of the visuals, which were created by the Art Department at Cosmo: “It’s dreamy, and ethereal, and evocative –– and it’s inclusive. Not every tarot deck is for everyone, but I hope you can find something that you can relate to in it,” she adds. “[I hope] it truly invites anyone who’s using it to spark their imagination and to look at the cards in a new way.” The cards include colored borders (which you can add your own meaning to), providing both a nice frame and offer a connection to the suits of the Minor Arcana.
When the deck first arrived, I was particularly intrigued with the swapping of the wands/rods for keys, a symbol I thought translated well in this new context. Potter cites the wands as symbolic of our passions and inspirations: “Having the key emblematic of this energy is about unlocking something, whether it’s personal secrets or wisdom. It’s a very active energy. Take the key and try the different locks to see what opens,” she says. The choice of diamonds also feels apropos for the deck: “I think of diamonds as clarity and I turn to my tarot deck because I’m seeking clarity. And it adds a sense of luxury that’s chic and opulent. It feels special.”
The knowledge we can take away from a spread normally brings clarity –– which is ultimately empowering. And Potter agrees: “What we don’t know is so much scarier, or the infinite possibilities of the unknown. I think we can often be our own worst enemies the way we can overthink things. I like to think of tarot as more soothing and clarifying. It can be brutal, but at the same time, I find it a loving energy and a gentle quality in the way it delivers.”
In many ways, this deck feels like just the beginning for Sarah Potter and more decks to come. As for the future, she remains characteristically optimistic: “I don’t know what I’m going to tap into next!”
You can purchase The Cosmo Deck: The Ultimate Deck and Guidebook at the Enchantments shop or online. To read more about Sarah Potter and color magic, check out this story.
Are you ready to get cozy with a new book? We've curated a list of our new favorites from Llewellyn, the world's oldest and largest publisher of spiritual books.
Remember back in the day when the best time of the year was gathering up your change and begging your parents for $10 (maybe $20 if you were lucky) for the school book fair? Those days may be far behind us, but the excitement of getting a new book is still there at any age. There's a magic in discovering hidden worlds within the pages and it's even better when combined with the simple ritual of brewing a cup of tea and lighting a small candle before diving in. Here, we've curated a list of new witch books by Llewellyn, featuring primarily women authors, with subjects ranging from pagan prayer and invocations to critical histories and earth magic, as well as kitchen witchery and personalized approaches to witchcraft.
Lights, Camera, Witchcraft: A Critical History of Witches in American Film and Television, By Heather Greene
Heather Greene’s Lights, Camera, Witchcraft (October 2021) focuses on the history of witchcraft and witches in American film and television. As a journalist and film scholar, Greene turns her focus towards classic films like The Wizard of Oz and Carrie to uncover how these cinematic depictions of witchcraft and women’s power have helped shape public consciousness within our patriarchal society, mixing gender studies, religion and entertainment in a critical history of Hollywood.
Kitchen Witchery: Unlocking the Magick in Everyday Ingredients by Laurel Woodward
Laurel Woodward’s Kitchen Witchery (August 2021) is a practical witch’s guidebook (with recipes) for turning nearly every kitchen staple into a magickal tool, including fruits, herbs, sweets, oils, beans, and more. Woodward emphasizes how cooking can be a ritual of creation and includes recipes for special seasoning blends and oils, too. So next time you attempt homemade sourdough, don't forget to add a little magic to it.
Tarot by the Moon by Victoria Constantino
Victoria Constantino’s Tarot by the Moon: Spreads & Spells for Every Month of the Year (August 2021) offers month-by-month tarot spreads and rituals that harness the power and energy of the moon. Including spells for cord cutting and house cleansing rituals, Constantino’s book also uses the tarot to illuminate new insights into relationships, ways to tap into our higher power, and release work –– all carefully timed with the moon phases.
Uncrossing by Katrina Rasbold
Katrina Rasbold’s Uncrossing (August 2021) offers ways to cleanse, recover, and protect yourself from psychic attacks, whether they be intentional or incidental. The 264-page book includes instructions for ritual baths, how to set up a healing space, and how to create uncrossing sprays and smudging bundles to recover your empowerment and vitality. It’s a powerful guide to healing, “whether you are suffering from a curse, hex, haunting, possession, the evil eye, or even an accidental self-crossing.”
The Eclectic Witch's Book of Shadows by Deborah Blake
Deborah Blake’s The Eclectic Witch’s Book of Shadows: Witchy Wisdom at Your Fingertips (September 2021) is a guide to customizing your own Book of Shadows, whether you’re a practicing Wiccan or an eclectic witch. Blake, a Wiccan high priestess and leader of the eclectic group Blue Moon Circle, offers divination tips, magical recipes, invocations, rituals, and candle magic wisdom in this 288-page hardcover with color illustrations by artist Mickie Mueller.
Rise of the Witch by Whiskey Stevens
Whiskey Stevens’ Rise of the Witch: Making Magick Happen Your Way (September 2021) explores both the history of the Craft and a personalized approach to magick. Stevens covers witches tools for both the novice and advanced practitioner, ways to harness energy, tarot and meditation tips, sex magick, and shadow work in this 216-page practical book to reveal a magic that is “uniquely yours.”
Elemental Witchcraft by Heron Michelle
Heron Michelle’s Elemental Witchcraft: A Guide to Living a Magickal Life (December 2021) focuses on Hermetic magick, elemental allies, and merging with the Divine Mind. Michelle, who is the owner of the Sojourner Whole Earth Provisions metaphysical shop and a Reiki master, offers nuanced insight into esotericism, including opening elemental gateways, constructing astral temples, balancing magickal elements, and developing deeper relationships with the goddesses and gods in this 384-page book.
The Witch's Path by Thorn Mooney
Thorn Mooney’s The Witch’s Path (September 2021) includes exercises and techniques in each chapter to take your craft to the next level when you’re feeling stuck or stagnant. Mooney, the high priestess of a traditional Gardnerian coven in Raleigh, shares hands-on tips for enhancing your magic and ritual work in this 312-page book. Both novices and advanced practitioners can gleam new insight into their personal spiritual practices, with themes ranging from renewal, evolving your spirit, and empowerment rituals.
Earth Magic by Dodie Graham McKay
Dodie Graham McKay’s Earth Magic (October 2021) is part of Llewellyn’s Elements of Witchcraft series and focuses on rituals, spells, and exercises to help you reconnect to the sacred energy of the earth. “Grounding,” aka reconnecting to the earth to find balance and recenter, is important for everyone but especially so for spiritual practitioners. Here, McKay discusses sacred sites, animal guides, crystals and stones, and myths and deities with the powerful earth energies and playful ways to harness this element to create positive change in yourself and the world.
A Year of Pagan Prayer by Barbara Nolan
Barbara Nolan’s A Year of Pagan Prayer (October 2021) is a “sourcebook of poems, hymns, and invocations from four thousand years of Pagan history.” Containing over 450 prayers spanning a variety of traditions, this 456-page book is perfect for anyone who “yearns to embody the eloquent expressions of our Pagan past,” and includes wedding blessings, funeral prayers, invocations to deities, prayers to Janus from Horace and Ovid, a pharaoh’s hymn to Isis, a song for Lammas by Gwydion Pendderwen, and more.
By Amber C. Snider
An interview with Madame Pamita, LA-based author of The Book of Candle Magic and owner of the online emporium Parlour of Wonders.
Madame Pamita’s bestselling book, which has been flying off the shelves at Enchantments, has become a shop favorite since its publication in 2020. In The Book of Candle Magic, M. Pamita covers ways to enrich your life with spell work, including customizing your candle spells, layouts, rituals, timing, and more.
Here, she does a deep dive into candle magic with editor Amber C. Snider and discusses ways to charge candles, focusing techniques, the power of symbolism, incantations, and the importance of clarity and confidence in spell work.
Amber C. Snider: Let’s start with the basics of candle magic. How does one charge a candle?
Madame Pamita: The first concept is that nothing has your inherent magic in it. For instance, hibiscus is a great herb for love magic and love potions, but on its own, it isn’t going to make someone fall in love with you or you fall in love with them. Your intention and your energy is what turns it into a potion. Same thing with a candle –– it isn’t necessarily a magical item [on its own], but it’s a fantastic ally and substrate for you to put in your magical intention.
When you are working magic, you can hold a candle, close your eyes, and focus on your intention. What is your highest and best intention for your spell? What is it that you really want? Love? Prosperity? What would it look and feel like to have the prosperity you’re wanting? Do your spells with confidence. That’s the ‘magic ingredient’ –– the confidence and belief that you are going to obtain what it is you are visualizing.
ACS: One of my favorite parts of your book is this quote: ‘The process of manifestation is actually not found in any candle herb or talisman. The power of magic is in the energy that begins within you. It starts with thought, extends through words and actions, combines with Spirit, and becomes manifest.’ What are your tips for clearing the mind and focusing our thoughts and intention?
MP: The really key thing is to have belief or imitate that belief –– you know, fake it ‘til you make it. A great tool that comes to us from New Age circles is the idea of affirmations. They call it affirmations, but I call it spells or incantations.
When you’re saying something over and over again you are rewiring your brain in some way and start to get on board with that topic. It could be anything: ‘I feel beautiful’ or ‘I look amazing’ even if you don’t feel like you look amazing. If you say that enough to yourself, overtime, you’ll start to get on board with that. If you want prosperity, say ‘I feel abundant’ even if you don’t feel that way. If you keep saying that, somehow it shifts things. I find that to be true across the board.
ACS: I’m a big advocate for free writing and stream of consciousness exercises (and you also bring up the power of journaling in your book). In what ways can journaling help with our magical growth or spell work?
MP: I see people with their fabulous looking Book of Shadows with beautiful calligraphy and I love that –– but it will never be me. I need to get it all out there and have a place where I can just do a [writing] dump and sift through that to find the nuggets.
I think that happens in regular writing too: Your job is to write a really shitty first draft. When you give yourself that permission, it frees you and opens things up so you can find those nuggets [of what you’re really looking for].
We think everything has to be perfect, but [it doesn’t have to be that way]. For instance, you might think you need a new job, but when you start writing about it, you realize it’s just the boss who’s kind of a jerk. That brain dump will help you get to the bottom of your deepest, most foundational part of your magic so you can do it more effectively.
In incantations, for example, people will rely on other people’s beautiful, poetic incantations. ‘As I watched the moon rise in the sky, I asked for my blessings to come from on high.’ They think it’s an incantation (which it is), but it’s just as powerful to say it in your own words. ‘Blessings come to me now’ –– any command or statement that’s made with confidence –– is just as powerful.
ACS: You cover many different types of candles in the book –– taper candles, pull-out candles, figure candles –– it’s pretty comprehensive. What are your favorite candles to work with?
MP: Yes, the book isn’t a recipe or spell book (there are so many books out there on that). But I created it like a lego: you take the pieces that work for you. You don’t have to have 10 different timings coordinated or every single herb, but you can bring in selections of those things to support your intention.
If you’re doing a spell for good luck and want to bring in [different elements to support that spell], you say, ‘Okay I’m going to use a yellow candle (color magic). I’m to do it on a Wednesday (because Wednesday is about luck and chance) and I’m going to light it on the waxing moon phase because [the moon is going to increase] and I want to increase my luck.’
ACS: You also cover symbolism in the book. What are ways we can customize our magic through symbols and sigils?
MP: Symbolism is also [powerful]. I’m a pretty visual person and there’s something about an image candle or figural candle that reinforces the idea of that intention. Symbolism adds a richness to your spell and reminds you of your intention in a beautiful way.
Pyramids, for example, symbolize something strong, long lasting, and increasing –– getting to the pinnacle of what you want. Working with taper candles [are especially great] for people who can’t be that “out” with their family or need to do magic in a very secret way. At Enchantments, you all do the custom candles with symbols, colors, glitter...there are all those beautiful elements. So whether a symbol is carved into the side of pull-out candle or it’s a molded candle, you’re working with that beautiful symbolism and I love that so much.
ACS: You write in the book, ‘Like a good contract, a petition paper should be focused and precise. Because you are working on a manifestation you should keep your petition paper positive.’ What are petition papers and what are some ways people can use them?
MP: A petition paper is a written incantation. Petition papers were always really familiar to me because I was raised Catholic and we would make a petition to the deity or the saint to help us with some dilemma in our lives. [It’s a request for something]. Who you’re asking could be anything: the universe, a deity, your ancestors, your spirits, the force, or whoever.
I clarify when I write. When I think of something, I think of all the different variations, nuances, and I can get lost going down rabbit holes, but when I write a petition it forces me to focus. Writing that long ‘brain dump’ and picking the really succinct, positive idea of what it is I want is quite powerful.
ACS: How long should they be?
MP: Some people say 'Oh that petition paper isn’t big enough for my petition.’ And I say, ‘You may have that list of 20 things that you want out of this spell, but you need to distill it into one idea.’ If you write I manifest my perfect job or I attract the perfect job it means all the 20 things you have in your head. I like those really succinct petition papers –– one really positive, confident statement.
ACS: What are word power boosters in spellwork?
MP: Power boosters are as much for your mindset as for your petition. They’re things that will shift your mindset about [your spell]. One of those is ‘Perfect outcome and perfect timing.’
The subtext is, ‘I’m willing to wait for the perfect thing. I’m not going to fuss about getting that thing this red hot minute.’ For experienced witches, you know you don’t always manifest everything immediately. The idea that you’re willing to put something out there, trust in the universe, and let it marinate is the ease that you give it so you’re not going ‘Are we there yet? Are we there yet?’ or worse saying –– ‘Oh my spell didn’t work’ –– which actually negates the work that you did.
That’s why the word power booster of 'Perfect outcome, perfect timing’ leaves it in the Universes’ hands or Spirits’ hands.
ACS: What’s another word booster to help with spell work?
MP: I really love An open door is as good as a closed door. If you’re trying to attain your highest and best, you [may think it’s one thing], but if you’re co-creating with the energies of the universe or your deity, your spirits know more than you do about the situation. There’s something you’re good at, which is material world action, and there’s something they’re good at with their omniscients about the situation and knowing all the moving pieces.
When we come to, let’s say the job situation again, we can look at the job from the outside, but we don’t know what our boss and coworkers are going to be like, what the work environment is like. Those things aren’t going to be listed in a job listing. Same thing in a relationship.
So if it doesn’t happen with that job or relationship, take a step back and think ‘Great. I’m going to try another door then!’ That concept in your mind will prevent you from weeping over lost opportunities with that one thing or job or person and staying stuck there. Yes, you’re allowed to grieve it ––there’s no judgement about crying or being sad about something –– but to remain stuck in that sadness is a diminished way of looking at it.
ACS: I love the idea that an open door is just as powerful as a closed one. It’s really so true!
MP: Yes, a closed door prevents you from wasting your time on something that’s mediocre. And that’s the attitude that will help you: ‘Oh that wasn’t good enough for me.’ It’s not that you weren’t good enough for it. I think that’s a fantastic way for approaching things that aren’t working out when you want them to or when your magic isn’t working out the way you [think] you want it to.
ACS: What are some ways people can use candle layouts to enhance their candle magic?
MP: I love a simple candle, but I love the idea of complex workings when you really want to customize [your spell] and get creative. Candle layouts are [how you position] your free standing candles, like pillar, figural, or taper candles. Doing layouts is like bringing a little secret to the spell: you know what it is, but no one else does.
I love the Crown Layout; Creating and laying out your candles in the shape of a crown for success, mastery, leadership, and confidence. It’s a beautiful way of working and I haven’t seen it before [in other magic books] –– it’s something I came up with. You could even accentuate [the layout] with herbs and crystals. It can be subtle, but it’s not subtle to you.
ACS: A lot of people ask ‘What’s the most powerful spell?’ and of course we know there’s no such thing since magic has to do with your intention, manifestation, and will. Can you talk a little bit about what makes a spell powerful?
MP: The most powerful spell is the one you have the most confidence about! There are spells that fall flat and there are some that take off, but if you’re super confident in your spell work, it’s going to come. If you’re doubtful, it’s kind of like rolling the dice a little bit. It really starts with you.
An adept magician can create and manifest without any accessories, without a candle. But most of us, we take one step forward and one step backwards [by second guessing ourselves]. So that ability to be very focused and very confident, we can imbue that into our candle spell and let the candle do its work. The more confidence you bring, the more powerful your spell.
ACS: The second most popular question is: ‘What’s the best time to do a spell?’ What are your thoughts on candle magic in regards to the lunar cycle or Wheel of the Year?
MP: In terms of timing, there are so, so many ways to time our spells to support our work. It’s like having allies or an extra bit of help. You can do a spell for abundance during a waning moon (which isn’t a traditional time to do a spell for abundance), but you just know you’re going to have to add some extra ‘oomph’ to support it because the moon cycle isn’t supporting it.
Timings can be: days of the week, time of the day, moon cycles, astrology, planetary hours. There are numerous ways, so find the ones that you groove with. You don’t have to do all of them, maybe one or two.
ACS: What can the flame of the candle tell us?
Once you’ve started to do lots of candle magic, the next step is to start to read candles. There are many ways: You can look at the flame or if it’s a glass-encased candle (like the beautiful ones you all sell), you can look and see if there’s smoke or soot on the side of the glass or read the incense or glitter markings like tea leaves; You can look at the flow of the wax, the strength of the flame, etc.
There are two schools of thought with witches. Some people say ‘You need to set your candle and not touch it and see what it does.’ And I see the value in that, getting feedback is great, but it’s also called spell work for a reason. Technically when you’re doing spell work, you’re interfering with the fabric of the universe in some way. You’re imposing your will. So if things aren’t flowing the way you like [you can do something about it].
If I have a candle with a flame that’s weak or low, that may mean my intention wasn’t that strong, so I’ll pull a little wax off the wick to make it stronger and work with it. It’s controversial because some people say ‘You need to let it do what it’s going to do.’ But it’s the difference between being more proactive or more projective in your magic or being more divinatory in your magic.
There’s a value in that divination, absolutely, but then why are you doing magic in the first place? Make it happen for yourself!
By Amber C. Snider
Spells to help students, parents, and teachers regain focus, amplify creativity, reduce stress, and manifest success this fall season.
For students, parents, and educators, the typical “Back to School” jitters can feel a bit more stressful this year. Perhaps you’re stressing over the decision to send your kids back to school, navigating homeschooling/ virtual learning for the second year, or preparing to go back to campus yourself.
Here are some age-appropriate spells to manifest academic success, concentration, creativity and a touch of joy to kick off this new school year.
For Academic Success (At Any Age)
We recommend 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. Alternatively, wearing a mask all day at school can be tough, too. If you’re a parent who practices magic 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.
*Story originally published 9/20, but updated on 8/21.
Want to try herbal magick? Check out our new series here.
Because you can never have too many tarot decks...
Whether you're a practiced divinator wanting to add to your collection or a novice in search of something new, each of these 9 decks offer something unique for the modern witch. Of course we also have a huge collection in-store (with all the classics), but here we bring you a roundup of our end of summer sale tarot decks, available in-store only.
Game of Thrones Tarot
Featuring 78 illustrated cards based on the hit HBO series Game of Thrones, we're thinking this would be an ideal gift for any Westeros fan. It also comes with a hardcover book inside, written by tarot expert Liz Dean with illustrations by Craig Cross.
The Raven's Prophecy, by Maggie Stiefvater
If ravens are your spirit animal, this is definitely the deck for you. On sale for $18, the deck includes a booklet for beginners (and novices, too) and features beautiful images of ravens. Created by Maggie Stiefvater (NYT's bestselling author of the Raven Cycle series), The Raven Prophecy Tarot is great for harnessing your intuitive powers and challenging the wisdom of the raven.
The Gill Tarot, by Elizabeth Josephine Gill
Yes, this price is even cheaper than Amazon (support local NYC businesses!) Featuring archetypal images in a beautifully illustrated deck with roots in the Tree of Life (based on the Kabbalah), creator Elizabeth Josephine Gill offers detailed meanings behind the symbolism of each vibrantly colored, high quality card.
Easy Lenormand, by Marcus Katz and Tali Godwin
Ever want to learn Lenormand, which dates back to the 19th century? Well this beginner's deck is a great place to start. Up your fortune telling game with this 36-card deck and guidebook, which includes techniques for building up to the Grand Tableaux spread. Practical, accessible, this deck is great for everyday divination.
Tarot Grand Luxe, by Ciro Marchetti
Calling all Leos! It's your birthday season, so you might as well treat yourself to a new tarot deck (you know you deserve it). Designed by artist Ciro Marchetti, the Tarot Grand Luxe is loosely based on the Rider-Waite-Smith decks, but incorporates a bold, fiery visuals across 78 cards. Includes a guide booklet.
Silver Witchcraft Tarot
The Silver Luna Witchcraft Tarot Kit comes with a 78-card deck and 160-pager guidebook to help you uncover the ancient magic of the moon. The deck weaves the phases of the moon and holidays into each suit, making it perfect for your Full Moon Ritual or New Moon Ritual. On sale for $15.
Mermaid Tarot, by Leeza Robertson
If water magick is part of your practice (or if you're drawn to mermaids), check out the Mermaid Tarot deck by Leeza Robertson. On sale at Enchantments (in-store only) for $18, this deck uses the imagery of mer-folk to guide you on your divination journey. Mystical and ethereal, this deck is great to incorporate into any water rituals, especially for the end of summer.
Steampunk Tarot, by Barbara Moore, Illustrated by Aly Fell
Based on the Rider-Waite deck and published by Llewellyn, this steampunk-themed deck plays on the dichotomy between "man and machine, nature and technology, science and alchemy, and romance and fashion." Created by award-winning tarot expert Barbara Moore, the deck also comes with a book to help guide you through the cards. On sale for $17 (in-store only).
Z Tarot, by Alejandro Colucci
Sure, we just went through a pandemic, but if a zombie apocalypse is still looming in your mind, you may want to check out the Z Tarot deck. Primal, powerful images of the undead are woven throughout this 78-card deck, which is based on the Rider-Waite-Smith system. Great for collectors and on-sale for $16.
Want to learn more about the tarot? Check out our Tarot Section here.
By Amber C. Snider
We've rounded up the best books on spellwork, brujeria, healing arts, candle magic, and more.
An eclectic mix of new releases, staff favorites, and classics, these summer picks are perfect to pack up for a summer road trip or pore over during those balmy summer nights. They each offer something truly unique in the realm of witchcraft, ranging from ways to harness your candle magic skills, protect your energetic fields, work with the elements, practice sacred symbol magic, or learn more about Indigenous practices. Here, we bring you Enchantments' bestselling books for summer 2021.
Protection Charms: Harness Your Energy Force to Guard Against Psychic Attack, by Tania Ahsan
A favorite for Enchantments’ customers and staff alike, Tania Ahsan’s Protection Charms focuses on empowerment magic and protection spells. It’s the book for anyone who has “ever gotten involved in a Twitter spat...or worried about walking home late at night” and provides an arsenal against psychic attack to help keep you grounded. Ahsan offers insight in symbols, chakras, and talismans to protect your energetic field and aura, as well as at-home rituals to strengthen your psychic shields. A practicing witch for 25 years, Ahsan’s 160-page hardcover is a must-read for those interested in learning more about energetic charms (which can even be used for candle magic). “Protection Charms breaks down the principles and importance of energetic hygiene through the various ways you can ward you body, aura, and space,” says Victor Castro, an energy worker and professional photographer at Enchantments.
Candle Magic, by Madame Pamita
This practical, illustrated hardcover by Madame Pamita is also currently a bestseller at Enchantments. “Madame Pamita’s book is currently my favorite on candle magic right now,” says Victor Castro. “It’s not just an introduction, but also goes into the more experienced aspects of ceromancy and pyromancy. It also has several helpful appendices of herbs, crystals, talismans and symbols that are useful in candle magic,” he adds. “It really is a wonderful book. I highly recommend it.”
Marisabel S. at Enchantments agrees: “Madame Pamita does a really, really good job at walking you through how to charge a candle and which candles are important for different things. It also goes really well with her Parlour of Wonders business, so I now have a better understanding of what that shop is about after reading her book. I’m grateful to add to my own candle experience with this book.”
Orishas, Goddesses, and Voodoo Queens, by Lilith Dorsey
Hands-down one of the best books on traditional African religions, Lilith Dorsey’s bestselling Orishas, Goddesses, and Voodoo Queens seamlessly blends folklore and mythology with practical spellwork. Dorsey has been a Voodoo Priestess for nearly 30 years, with initiations in Santeria (or Lucumi), Haitian Vodou, and New Orleans Voodoo, as well. The book covers ways to honor the orishas, the meaning of ashe, and the importance of turning to women of color to elucidate the intersectionality of these practices. The book rarely stays in the shop given its popularity, so you may want to call ahead for this one!
Read our exclusive interview with Dorsey about their book here.
The Complete Book of Incense, Oils, and Brews, by Scott Cunningham
It’s safe to say that anything Scott Cunningham touches turns to gold at this point (at least when it comes to pen and paper) and his Incense, Oils, and Brews is no exception. Published in 2002, it’s still a bestseller and its informative, encyclopedic style makes it a staple on every witch’s bookshelf. Chock-full of recipes, formulas, and methods, it’s also a favorite for Enchantments’ staff, too. “I like that this is a compilation of several different books. It’s really easy to find the information on different incenses and oils in a ‘one stop shop’ sort of place, rather than buying several books on the subject,” says Marisabel S. “I’m also really partial to creating my own blends that I can energetically charge and I like the personal relationship I can build with the ingredients listed here.”
Ancient Egyptian Magic for Modern Witches, by Ellen Cameron Reed
Republished in 2021 by Weiser books (it was originally published under a different title) is Ellen Cannon Reed’s Ancient Egyptian Magic for Modern Witches. This 288-pager covers rituals, songs, and prayers to the ancient gods and goddesses of Egypt, highlighting Isis, Ra, Thoth, Osiris, and others. There are also meditations to enrich your spiritual path, instructions for making magical tools, incense, oils, and insight into hieroglyphs. If you’re interested in learning more about ancient Egyptian practices adapted for the modern age, this is the book for you this summer!
*Enchantments also carries various Egyptian deity statues, including Isis and Osiris. Call shop for availability.
Sacred Symbol Magic, by Sarah Bartlett
New for 2021, Sarah Barlett’s illustrated guide to magical and spiritual symbols is currently flying off the shelves. The book includes over 50 sacred symbols from a variety of cultures and spiritual traditions, as well as practical ways to harness each symbol’s latent power. “Sacred Symbol Magic is lovely,” says Victor Castro. “Great for novices or the seasoned acolyte, it contains a curated and elegant overview of symbols often used in esoteric illustrations. It’s broken down by category, making it extremely useful for those working with sigils and candle magic,” he adds. The fact that it's also a beautiful hardcover only adds to its appeal.
The Way of the Witch, by Sally Morningstar
Published earlier this year, Sally Morningstar’s 160-page The Way of the Witch includes full color illustrations and has already become a shop favorite for 2021. It’s a guide to the roots of witchcraft, offering tips for making charms, casting spells, building altars, and embarking on psychic journeys. Morningstar, a hedgewitch who has already authored over 30 books on spirituality, also runs an international course in natural magic and self-development. Offering refreshing insight into the world of witchcraft, including ways to honor the earth, The Way of the Witch is both enchanting and empowering.
Personal Magic, A Modern Day Book of Shadows for Positive Witches, by Marion Weinstein
Republished in 2021 with a foreword by Steven Hanes, Marion Weinstein’s Personal Magic is a total classic, worthy of a year-round place on your bookshelf. As one of the “grand dames of witchcraft,” New York City witch Marion Weinstein focuses on practical magic with an emphasis on ethics. As a version of her own personal book of shadows, it includes ways to invoke spirit powers, deities, and gods and goddesses, working with the moon and one’s ancestors, as well as protection and manifestation spells. This book is an excellent beginner’s guide or refresher for seasoned practitioners, offering how-to guides with the responsible caveat (yet all-too-necessary) that one should only practice when one fully understands it.
The Way of the Water Priestess: Entering the World of Water Magic, by Annwyn Avalon
Also new for 2021 but written in her signature enchanted style, Annwyn Avalon’s latest book is a hands-on guide to harnessing the power of water for healing, protection, and self-empowerment. The Way of the Water Priestess is all about reviving ancient practices, making water sacred again, and learning how to embody the sacred vessel of water that you already are. Plus, it’s also a staff favorite: “Despite being a Cancer, I’m not that connected with water. But this book does a good job at telling you the history of women’s connection to water, water magic, water sources, the moon, and intuition. It also has really nice recipes for baths towards the end of the book,” says Marisabel S.
American Brujeria, by J. Allen Cross
And last but not least, J. Allen Cross’s American Brujeria is currently one of the most popular books on the market right now. New to 2021, the book explores Modern Mexican-American Folk Magic with an accessible and conversational approach. It’s a great book for anyone interested in Indigenous practices, folk magic, healing, and shamanism. It covers spell casting, healing arts, oil crafting, protective charms, stories on folk saints, and the influence of Catholicism on these ancient traditions. But it sells out quickly (and it’s a staff favorite), so be sure to call ahead for availability.
*Note, these new titles are available for in-store purchase at Enchantments. For more great reads, check out our Books section on the website.
by Amber C. Snider
You don’t have to be an artist to invoke more creativity in your life. Here are seven ways to channel the divine muse, including creative exercises, manifestation tools, and spiritual tips.
Creativity is at the center of human nature. You could even say it’s at the heart of nearly everything we do as a species. And although the divine spark is never far away, it sometimes takes some work to tap into that moving, elusive, profoundly spiritual energy.
The ancient Greeks began all their epic poems and hymns with an invocation of the Muses (think of the Hymn to Demeter, The Iliad, The Odyssey, etc). It was based on the idea that creativity itself was a gift from the Gods and only through them, with their blessing, could we access or tap into knowledge of the universe, thereby catching a glimpse into that ecstatic world where creation becomes manifest.
Here, we outline 7 ways to “access” the deeper realms of your creativity (in the modern world), including sound bath meditations, art exercises, and mystical musings.
Seek out mystical art
The work of artists like Hilma AF Klint, Salvador Dalí, Frida Kahlo, Leonora Carrington, and more is steeped in spirituality, symbolism, and mysticism. Take a day trip to a museum and see their works in-person (similar to Julie Cameron’s idea of the “Artist Date”), purchase one of their art books and meditate on their images for a month, or simply Google search/explore their paintings via a computer screen. As you do so, notice what emotions come up when you look at a particular painting: What is it trying to tell you? Write down your reactions, use the art to help with your Shadow Self work (more on that here), or try to create an imitation painting.
We’re loving this list of artists from Dazed: Eight Female Artists Who Channel Spirituality Into Their Work.
The work of psychologist and philosopher William James at Harvard had a deep and lasting impact on the concept of “automatic writing.” Automatic writing involves tapping into the subconscious, but perhaps just as compelling, it was regarded as a tool to channel messages and ideas from the higher spiritual realms. One of his most dedicated students, the modernist poet and writer Gertude, took his ideas and used them to create some of her most revered literary works, cementing her place as one of America’s greatest avant-garde artists.
Try these easy steps to automatic writing here. To enhance a meditative state, try Enchantments Spiritual High incense or Divine Muse incense.
Use the sound as a tool to tap into creative insights, transcend the temporal, move deeper into the divine, creative spirit that moves through all things.
Try a free meditation app like Insight Timer, seek out sound bath artists like NYC-based Sara Auster (who does weekly sound baths via IG Live), or buy a set of crystal bowls to create your own musical flow at home, anytime. Try Purple Wisdom Oil (anoint your Third Eye) as you listen.
Set the intention to open Crown Chakra in order to unlock deeper creativity in your everyday life. Get in a comfortable position and use your headphones as you listen to a sound bath at home. Visualize what your life will look like with more creativity –– in all its forms. What will true creativity feel like? How do you look and move throughout the world with this heightened energy?
“Invoke the Muse” painting
Similar to seeking out mystical art, try to do a painting of your own, too. Even if you’re not a visual artist, it’s not only fun to “play” and try new things as an adult, but you could surprise yourself. First, set an intention for the painting: It could be as simple as “I want to see my inner child” or “I want to explore the origins of the universe” or “I want to channel Mother Earth.”
Then try a 5-10 minute meditation on this intention, going through your chakras one-by-one, from the Root Chakra up to the Crown, sending each energetic center light (read more about Chakra work in the article here). When you get to the Crown Chakra, ask for divine inspiration, sit there in the light you’ve created for several moments, open your eyes, and let your hand guide you.
Keep a notebook
We’re so confined to our phones (all the time) that there’s something freeing –– and also inherently creative –– about writing with pen and paper. Take a small notebook with you wherever you go and look for inspiration in the mundane. Write down overheard conversations, record observations of the natural world, draw pictures of tiny herbs and plants as you find them, jot down incantations, mantras, recipes, prayers, muse up new recipes, and pen messages from your Spirit Guides (you know, that quiet, yet powerful voice inside you).
Remember, just like Joan Didion wrote in her famous essay “On Keeping a Notebook,” what’s written inside these pages isn’t for the world out there, but rather it’s a document for yourself; to “remember” who you are, who you’ve been, and who you’ll become. And for the ultra-organized Capricorns out there, consider trying the Bullet Journal Method for your notebook. Keep a daily tracker of your spiritual activities, rituals, and recipes, all in one place.
Use what you have
Witchcraft has always been about making do with what you have on-hand. You don’t need to go out and buy “fancy” or trending tools. Looking for herbs for a sea salt bath ritual? Use the sea salt that’s (probably) already in your cupboard and add some lavender to the mix. Need to cleanse your home of negative energy? Again, try burning herbs you already have: Bay leaves, cinnamon, or rosemary. Design and personalize your own Book of Shadows, make a wand using found Birch or Cedar wood in your local park, create your own sacred oil blends. Use your hands, don’t be afraid to get a little messy, and have fun with the so-called mistakes.
Too often in this year of isolation we’ve shut down the world out there, often as a protective or survival measure. But the time has come to open ourselves back up. Inspiration is omnipresent in the natural world (but you knew that), so when’s the last time you ventured out of the house for the sole/soul purpose of seeking beauty?
For candle work and spells, check out this story on the best candles for creativity and renewal.
Whether you want to spice up those summer nights with a new erotic adventure, surround yourself with an air of mystery, or manifest deep emotional healing, here are our bestselling candles for the season.
A favorite amongst staff and customers, the Sea Priestess candle invokes the powerful energy of the Ocean Mother. It can help you manifest calming, tranquil vibes, deep emotional healing, and rebirth. Pairs well with our hand-blended Ocean Mother Oil and Yemaya incense.
Empress Candle with Bad Ass Oil/Incense
Being shut-in for months on end in isolation over the last year has definitely taken a toll on our self confidence. The Empress candle is a Goddess-based candle (either Oshun or Venus) and helps magnify self-love. Pairs wonderfully with Bad Ass Oil (for that extra confidence boost), our hand-blended Bad Ass Bath, Venus Oil, Oshun Golden Luck Bath (if you work with the Orishas), or Goddess of Love oil (which is also a powerful aphrodisiac). This sultry, luscious candle can also be used to attract romantic attention.
Perhaps you’ve had a little bad luck lately and need to turn the Wheel of Fortune back in your favor. The Fortuna Candle invokes Lady Luck to bring a whirlwind of luck your way. As the giver of abundance, invoke the Goddess energy of Fortuna in your daily spellwork until the candle burns down completely. Pairs well with our hand-blended Horn of Plenty Incense (to bring about wealth), Double Fast Luck Oil, our Lady Luck Fortuna Oil (which also happens to be good for gambling), or our hand-blended Prosperity Bath.
Boys Night Out
Made for gay men only, the Boys Night Out Candle can help attract new lovers or spice things up in a current relationship. It’s perfect to manifest a wild night (or several) out on the town during those warm and steamy summer nights. Pairs well with our hand-blended oils, including Eros Oil (a devotional blend for the God of Love and helps attract erotic love), Oscar Wilde Oil, or Satyr Oil (a powerful sexual attraction blend that’s particularly good for gay men).
This powerful, seductive candle works as an attraction spell to surround you with glamour and excitement. Adding a cloak of mystery and intrigue around you, the Mystere Candle can help attract potential suitors, drawing them to you like moths to a flame. As with all candle magic, be careful what you wish for – you may end up with too many suitors to choose from. Pairs well with Aphrodite Love Draw Bath, hand-blended Mystere Oil, AC/DC Oil (a bisexual love and attraction formula), or Astarte Oil (a love formula that increases awareness, especially in sexual areas).
Solar Blast Candle
Another shop and customer favorite, the Solar Blast Candle helps invoke the power of the sun’s energy to cleanse, purge and rejuvenate your entire being. It’s a positivity candle that invites abundance and joy in your life, and it’s perfect for the summer months. It’s also a great “wishing” candle, so if there’s something specific you’d like to manifest this season, this candle is a great choice. Pairs well with our hand-blended Sun Oil, Sun Bath, Happiness Bath, or our Sun Incense.
Yemaya Devotional Candle
A devotional candle to the Mother Goddess of the Ocean, our Yemaya Candle can be used for fertility spells, emotional healing, self-love, moon/lunar magic, and cleansing. Great in combination with water magic (read more about that here), and pairs well with our hand-blended Yemaya Oil, Ocean Mother Oil or our Yemaya Mermaid Bath.
In case you missed it, we linked up with astrologer David Scoroposki to find out the best times to travel this summer according to the planetary transits. Here, he offers up 12 horoscopes for summer.
Aries, the headstrong sign ruled by fiery Mars, is bursting with physical energy after having been cooped up for so long –– it's time for an active, physically engaging getaway such as a hiking trip or outdoor adventure. Having more sex will also do the trick, so express yourself and have fun with your partner to relieve built-up tension.
Taurus is a luxury-loving earth sign ruled by Venus, enjoying comfort above all else. As long as the house was cozy enough for (sometimes) lazy Taurus, the quarantine and time at home may not have been as difficult as it was for other signs. But now it's time to get moving! Find a fabulous hotel with lots of delicious décor and plan a romantic getaway. You are sure to feel reinvigorated by these indulgences.
Gemini is ever-changing, ruled by speedy Mercury, so this pandemic has been difficult for them to stay put. Gemini is talkative and a very social sign, so communication is key when it comes to dealing with them.Write a letter to a romantic partner (or prospective romantic partner) because Geminis are natural writers and experts at the art of the "love letter." A train trek with lots of small stops is the ultimate Gemini adventure.
Cancers are very family oriented and can spend much of their time attending to the home or children, so they may be feeling overwhelmed after playing "caretaker" for everyone during the pandemic. Instead of being crabby, take a trip on the water –– perhaps a boat ride to a beautiful beach –– you'll find that love and romance feel new again, after a watery refresher.
Leos follow the Sun –– and like the brightest light in the sky, they need attention! After a dreary winter quarantine, go south –– your proximity to sunshine is the boost you need to attract and keep romantic energy around you. Also, wear gold for added solar energy.
Virgos are detailed oriented planners with lots of internal thoughts –– this quarantine must have yielded many new crafts and hobbies, as well as reorganized closets. In order to experience more fun, you must shake up the routine and avoid the mundane. Spontaneity and excitement can do wonders for a lovelorn Virgo, so book that trip now –– you won't regret it.
Libras love balance and peace, but also the beauty of nature and fine art. If they have been able to enjoy nature during the lockdown, then they should have fared well. If not, it's time to enjoy romance al fresco –– plan a picnic with the most beautiful wine, fruits and flowers, and become enraptured by the passion of summer.
Scorpios are intense and also wildly sexual. Ruling the genitals, they express themselves best in the bedroom. Invest in some leather or lace (depending on your mood) and enjoy some spiritually healing, "post pandemic" sexual play. A trip to a warm beach (preferably nude) also works for this steamy water sign ruled by Mars.
Sagittarius is happiest surrounded by new and inspiring people and ideas; they are the sign most associated with overseas travel. Now that travel restrictions are lifting, indulge in your wanderlust and find peak romantic potential in faraway places. You may meet someone this summer from another place, with whom you will be fascinated and inspired.
Capricorns are generally hardworking and reliable, and it's quite possible that they have been other's "rock" during these "uncertain times." Capricorns need to be appreciated and celebrated by those who love them, because it can be difficult for them to express their emotions. A group hike or trip to the hills is always a treat for the earth sign of the mountain goat, who is happiest up high, always in search of the summit.
Ruled by rebellious Saturn, Aquarians march to the beat of their own drums. They are generally okay alone, and may have been better off during the pandemic than other, more sensitive signs. Although space travel is not yet possible, deep sea diving or a scuba adventure would also please the Aquarian in search of new and interesting landscapes. A desert, space-like terrain would also do.
Watery Pisces is the most receptive and sensitive sign of the zodiac, and they are prone to worry and confusion. This is the sign most affected by the pandemic emotionally, so it's important to be gentle and emerge slowly from the dark winter. Spend time by the water if possible –– the gentle ocean breeze and walks on shore are quite healing.
Click here to read the best times to travel this summer 2021. To book a private reading with Scoroposki, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Amber C. Snider
As if you needed an excuse to book that well-deserved getaway, here astrologer David Scoroposki reveals the best times to travel in 2021, according to the planetary transits.
With the vaccine rolling out all over the U.S. (thank you, science), travel is set to explode this summer. And luckily, there are also few cosmic boosts coming along to encourage this nomadic activity. It’s not just travel for travel’s sake either: A late spring or summer trip may also lead to new spiritual awareness and maybe even a little romance.
According to David Scoroposki, a NYC-based astrologer and mystic who’s thrown cards and studied the skies for royals and locals alike, late spring and summer 2021 is a great time to finally add a vacation to your calendar. “Travel is ruled by Mercury and Jupiter. Mercury, the planet of communication and transit, favors small, local trips, while Jupiter, the planet of philosophy and expansion, governs long trips overseas,” he says.
“Thanks to Jupiter's entry into the peaceful sign of Pisces on May 14, the month of May brings welcome impulses when it comes to exploring new places and finding inspiration abroad,” says Scoroposki. “Jupiter is the ‘Grand Benevolent’ of the zodiac and is very well placed in sensitive Pisces, so travel overseas is bound to yield spiritual changes that have a deep impact on the psyche.”
This much-needed planetary boost is “likely to impart the realization that we are all connected in many ways,” making it a favorable time to experience other cultures and new places on the map. With an emphasis on positive spiritual shifts, it’s a good time to get out of your comfort zone when it comes to choosing a destination. Have you been longing for the remote jungles of Costa Rica? A backpacking excursion in Oaxaca? Stay open to new experiences at this time, while also keeping an eye on travel advisories and requirements.
There’s also another cosmic blessing coming along, but it won’t last all summer. “Romance is on the rise!” says Scoroposki. “Take lots of videos, as moving images are also associated with Jupiter in Pisces. However, book your vacation with haste, because this influence will only last until July 28, when Jupiter goes back into hectic Aquarius. Relationships will be especially tender and close during this transit –– and a vacation to a faraway destination is the best way to take advantage of this special moment in time.”
With all this positive planetary action, staying sensible and alert in your travels is still important, especially as Mercury goes retrograde (read more on that here). Keep a close eye on your itineraries, flight changes, passport, and vaccination card. “Mercury, the shifty planet of transportation and commerce, goes retrograde from May 29 through June 22, so be sure to double check hotel reservations and to arrive early before flights or train trips,” remarks Scoroposki. “Mercury retrograde wreaks havoc on the disorganized, so pay attention! Generally, it would be best to save small, domestic trips and travel for dates that do not fall within this range: May 29 – June 22.”
Scoroposki says the best time to travel is when Jupiter and/or Mercury are in dignity and form benevolent aspects to the birthchart, as well as when there is good planetary activity in the third and ninth houses. A professional astrologer can help locate this information in your chart, if you’d like to do a deep dive into the best times for you.
Whether it’s a trip to see the Aurora Borealis, a scenic road trip out West, or a beachside villa in Puerto Rico, the cosmos is definitely on your side this season. Just be sure to check Travel Advisories for U.S. citizens before embarking on any excursion and stay up-to-date with alerts. Practical magic also means being practical, so follow your desires while also staying safe.
To book a private reading with David Scoroposki, you can email him at email@example.com. Check back for our upcoming story on travel horoscopes.
Our favorite incense blends for clearing negative energy, ushering in new love, setting a romantic mood, sanctifying spaces, and more.
Scent is directly tied to the emotional centers in our brain and it’s no surprise that ancient magic workers and healers have used its power to enhance their rituals. While our reaction to scent is a deeply personal experience, there’s also a universal quality to smoke cleansing or smudging.
The use of incense for smudging, or energy clearing, goes back thousands of years and is found in nearly every religious practice. From Indigenous rituals in North America to the Catholic rites in Rome and the burning of sacred oils and incense in Ancient Greece, the age-old tradition of purifying spaces and spiritual energy with smoke still continues today.
Here are some of our favorite hand-blended incenses, ways to use them, and how to choose the right blend according to your individual practice.
For Invoking the Muse
When you read Ancient Greek mythology, notice how each hymn begins with an invocation of the Muse. To channel divine inspiration, try burning Divine Muse incense before you begin a creative project. Add about a tablespoon of incense to a small cauldron or incense burner and touch fire to it (preferably use a lighter, not a match). Walk around your work space with the smoke and call upon the Muse to allow creativity and inspiration to run through you.
If you’re an artist, use the incense to purify your materials (pens, papers, work station); If you’re a writer, run the smoke around your electronics, notebook, etc. After you’ve purified your materials, don’t forget to cleanse your aura with the smoke, as well. Start at the top of the head (about 6 inches above your crown) and work your way down to your feet, lifting up each foot as you go along. Envision the smoke carrying away any negativity or hinderance to your ultimate, creative self.
For Ushering in New Love
Goddess of Love Incense is a powerful aphrodisiac that brings out the total animal instincts in the one you desire. It's a juicy, seductive scent that welcomes in Goddess energy. Aphrodite Love Drawing Incense is great for attracting new love (and helping you feel irresistible and charming), while Bad Ass, a female empowerment and sexual attraction formula, helps with self-esteem. Lastly, Erzuli is a devotional blend for the Haitian Loa of love, beauty and prosperity, if that's in your spiritual tradition.
For Clearing Negative Energy
Regularly spiritual cleansing (and practicing spiritual hygiene) is essential for any magical worker. The following blends are great for rituals or general daily cleansing: Van Van (which is a cleansing & uncrossing blend from New Orleans. Great for purifying before ritual); Kyphi (an ancient Egyptian formula used for banishing evil & negativity, and can also be used in any Egyptian rite); and Uncrossing (an incense blend that clears all negative energy, blocks and hexes). We recommend opening your windows during energy clearing –– think of it as "out with the old and in with the new."
For Helping Ease Heartache
Love Healing can be used to heal a relationship, help get over a break up, and to heal old wounds and emotional issues. Happiness Incense has an uplifting scent with a universal appeal and helps bring joy into the heart.
Meditation Incense is great for meditation work, as it's a calming blend to help you achieve a relaxed mindset. Peace/Pax Incense is also great for relaxation, peace of mind, ushing peace in the home. Relaxation Incense is a powerful calming blend that helps bring in a good night's sleep and prevent nightmares. Moon Incense can be used for all lunar rituals and devotional workings, while also helping to improve intuition.
For Prophetic Dreaming
Delphic Dreams is a psychic empowerment formula with an element of protection that's also used for astral projection, lucid dreams, and dream enhancement. Spiritual High, a famous blend of 16 aromatic herbs, can be used for effectively embracing higher understanding, as well as prophetic dreams and astral travel.
For Welcoming Abundance
Horn of Plenty forces change of fortune and brings wealth, while Lucky Magnet attracts luck in all areas. Nine Fruits brings luck and bright blessings to all areas of life, as well as Success Incense. Sun, a solar blend for energy, positivity, vitality, inner strength, and self-confidence (a shop favorite), is also a great choice for ushering in abundance.
For Good Luck and Prosperity
Double Fast Luck increases luck in all areas and is also for money drawing. High Conquering Incense (also known as High John the Conqueror) attracts luck in all areas, as well as strength in overcoming obstacles. Lucky Job attracts employment and is also good for promotions.
For Sanctifying a Space
House Blessing Incense is used to cleanse, purify and protect a home, while filling your space with positive energy. Good Earth invokes the element of Earth and can be used for grounding, especially if your home feels a bit chaotic at times. Egyptian Temple Incense purifies, banishes, and clears a sacred space.
For Honoring the Gods/Goddesses
While Enchantments offers many, many devotional blends for the Gods, Goddesses, and Orishas, here are a few of our favorites:
Artemis (a devotional blend for the Greek Lunar Goddess); Brigid (a devotional blend for the Celtic Fire Goddess); Chango (a devotional formula for the Orisha of lightning. Inspires passion and fire for life. Great for dancers and performers); Freya (a devotional blend for the Norse Goddess of love, war and magic. For love, sex magic, prosperity and shamanic traveling); Horned God (a devotional blend, use to connect with and honor the divine masculine); Kali (a devotional blend for the Hindu Goddess of destruction and creation. Can be used for justice, protection and strength); Oshun (a devotional blend for the Orisha of the river. Attracts love, luck, prosperity, beauty and positive attention. Helps you flow with life).
To read more about the orisha Oshun, click here for an Enchantments' interview with Priestess Lilith Dorsey about her book "Orishas, Goddesses, and Voodoo Queens."
To Set a Romantic Mood
While no magic can ever bring true love, you can help spice things up in the bedroom with incense. Try Queen of the Night (to invoke Lilith in her sensual aspect), Filthy Sheets (a purely sexual attraction formula), or Great Sex (an aphrodisiac blend that helps reduce inhibitions).
By Amber C. Snider
Here’s what color magic specialist, Tarot reader, and local NYC psychic medium Sarah Potter has to say about conjuring the fiery energy of Beltane.
Also known as May Day, Beltane marks the midway point between the spring equinox and summer solstice. Often celebrated on May 1st, the origins of Beltane go back to the ancient Celts, when Pagan rituals dedicated to the marriage of the Goddess and the Green Man were held. It’s a time of fecundity, when the earth is beginning to burst with life, and also when the “veil between worlds” is said to be at its thinnest (similar to Samhain in the Wheel of the Year).
The sacred element of fire, with its powerful capacity to both sustain and destroy life, is honored in Beltane rituals which often consist of couples jumping over roaring bonfires, dancing around the maypole (another symbol for fertility), seeking out the faeries, and generally relishing in Mother Earth’s bounty. The word Beltane actually translates to “bright fire” and also references the Celtic God Bel, so the bonfire was meant to not only honor the God, but also used for purification and protection.
For urban witches, celebrating Beltane like the olden days may look a bit different –– but that doesn’t mean you can’t still harness the power of this time. Here are some tips from color magic specialist and city witch Sarah Potter on how to celebrate this decadent & fecund holiday.
What do you desire?
“I love Beltane! It is such a sexy holiday celebrating all of the beauty and joy of fertility, sex, growth, and abundance. This is the time of year to really honor your fiery, sexual, creative self. Where in your life are you wishing to increase your abundance? What do you desire? What do you wish to create?” –– Sarah Potter
Editor’s tip: Try an automatic writing ritual to “coax” out your inner desires. Take a sea salt bath, light some incense (like this Beltane Fire Sabbat blend) or burn your favorite oil blend. After you emerge from the tub, grab a notebook and spend 20 minutes writing down your desires. Don’t censor or judge yourself as you write, simply focus on what you want for this season and stay open to whatever comes to you.
Pull some cards...
“Plan your rituals accordingly around your answers to these questions. Pull some Tarot or Oracle cards if you need a push in the right direction or to gain a little further insight.” –– Sarah Potter
Editor’s tip: Here is a list of our favorite Tarot cards at the Enchantments’ shop.
Fertility comes in many forms
“If you are trying to get pregnant, now is the time to do some fertility magic! If you want to birth a new creative project or launch a business, focus your magic towards these endeavors! Fertility comes in many forms and this is a very creative, abundant time of year.” –– Sarah Potter
Editor's Tip: Try a Song of Elder God or Song of Elder Goddess candle to invoke creativity and success in the arts.
Solo? No prob...
“Traditionally, witches dance around the maypole, a classic fertility dance! I live in Manhattan so I don’t usually do a maypole dance (I have a studio apartment), but I love to have a fun dance party with my coven sisters. This could be a solo situation as well: Create a playlist of your favorite feel good, sexy dance tunes and get moving and HAVE FUN! Dress up! Adorn your hair with flowers!” –– Sarah Potter
Work in some color magic
“Purples, greens, and early spring flowers like daffodils, hyacinths, forsythia, daisies, tulips invoke the energy of the season so adorn yourself, your home, and your altar accordingly.” –– Sarah Potter
Editor’s tip: Learn more about color magic from Sarah Potter here.
Burn and release
“If the weather permits, get outside and enjoy nature. If you live in a city, go to the park. Enjoy whatever access to nature you have at your disposal. If you have a backyard, have friends over for a bonfire. Write your intentions down on paper and send them off into the universe by throwing them into the flames. This can be done with a candle flame as well if you cannot do a full on bonfire.” –– Sarah Potter
Editor's candle recommendation: "Attraction" scented printed candle here.
Embrace your sexual fire
“Leaning into the Beltane spirit of owning your sexual energy, take some sensual selfies for yourself (or share them if you choose!) Dress up in your fave lingeries or a silky robe, take a million shots, capture all of those angles, and admire your beauty!” –– Sarah Potter
For more tips by Sarah Potter, check out this interview on "How to Manifest What You Really Want." You can also check out her IG here: @iamsarahpotter
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 at our shop website.
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.