By Amber C. Snider
An enchanting new spells deck debuted this month and we’re over the moon about it. Here, we speak to author Cat Cabral about ways to use her wonderfully witchy creation.
Cat Cabral, a once familiar face behind the Enchantments’ apothecary counter, has been honing her Craft for over 20 years. Her debut spells deck (appropriately called The Spells Deck) is jam-packed with 78 charms, remedies, and rituals for witches everywhere. Not only is it a cross-pantheon resource for both seasoned practitioners and newcomers to witchcraft, it’s also a beautifully designed work of art.
As a witch’s divination tool and intuitive guide, The Spells Deck is broken down into eight thoughtfully-curated categories based on intention and ritual. There is the Witch’s Tools category (insight into all the witchy paraphernalia we love), Language of Magic (an overview of symbols and sigils), Bonds of Love (rituals for healing hearts and self-love), Abundance and Good Fortune (‘cause we can all use a little extra dough). There’s also Rites of Purification and Renewal (for cleansing, protection, and connecting with the earth), Fires of Passion and Creativity (rituals for passion and courage), Intuitive Awareness (for enhancing divination), and Witch’s Familiars (animals guides and mythology).
“I wanted it to be a guide for witchcraft. I wanted to set it up as ‘here are the tools you need to practice and here's how you can map it out,’” Cat Cabral tells me over coffee in Park Slope one early autumn afternoon. “And then there are the different categories that – universally speaking – all humans want to connect with, whether it's love, success, intuition, feeling,” she says.
Cat’s passion for witchcraft (and the generous sharing of her expertise) is palpable not only in real life, but also within the soft flip of the impeccably designed deck. It features a minimalist, abstract card design using a mix of soft beige-pinks, bleeding black strokes, hushed greys, and muted yellow tones. There are exclusive recipes for incense and magical oil blends, and each card contains a symbol that can be carved into a candle to enhance your spellwork.
But you can also use the card like a tarot deck: “I want people to mix them up, play with them, spread them out and then just kind of feel it out and see, 'Oh, I've picked Queen of Torches...this is a recipe about confidence.’ Whether or not you feel inclined to make this exact recipe, maybe tapping into your confidence is something you want to think about,” Cat says.
“The Queen of Torches spell is wonderful,” she muses. “I make this oil for myself and I love it. But you could also just buy frankincense and that will work for confidence. Rose is really good to heal the heart and orange helps with depression.”
“These are my suggestions, but at the end of the day, I don't want people to think they have to spend an elaborate amount of money to be a witch, you know?”
So what exactly is ritual? And why is it so important in magical work? “For me, ritual is about creating a separate and sacred moment in time where you can connect to Divine Spirit, God/Goddess, Ancestors, whatever you want to call ‘It’ – and also connecting to yourself,” Cat says. “Ritual is also a really good way of connecting with other people.” Cat regularly conducts magical circles, especially around pagan holidays, some of which are open to the public.
Ritual doesn’t have to be an elaborately performed ceremony, but anything that allows us to get centered and ready ourselves for encounters with the Divine Spirit. “We have rituals every day...the way we comb our hair or brush our teeth. In doing a ritual [with intention], you're sending out certain signals to the Universe that this is what you want to happen on an energetic level,” Cat says. “I'm a witch that does believe in a higher power – but some don't. Intention coupled with action is really the key to how magic works."
Cat says ritual can also include language in the form of chanting, or dancing, or visualization, or even sex – but the most important thing is to raise energy. “Anything that heightens your senses [can help in a] variety of spell work.”
Using The Spells Deck as an intuitive guide to manifest intention was one of Cat’s goals in the deck’s creation: “Your intention could be, ‘I feel really stuck right now, nothing seems to be working, I really want to do a ritual for clarity.’ So I have a spell in here called ‘Lucidity.’ There’s a chant you can do and it also involves carving a big cross on the top of a white skull candle to open up roads, as well as plants and oils that traditionally have to do with clarity.”
The hardest part of spell work, Cat admits, is letting it go after you’ve performed the spell: “At the height of it, (when you've raised your energy and it affects the chant and you keep repeating it), you then just have to let it go. You just have to see what happens next.
And that's the most difficult part with magic because so many people are results-oriented only. People ask me, ‘How do I know if the spell works? Did I do it properly?’ There is always an outcome to a magical action –yet it may not appear the way you expect or bring about the result you initially imagined. But that's part of the journey, learning lessons and interpreting messages, it's all part of the craft."
To purchase Cat Cabral’s The Spells Deck, which debuted on October 17th from Chronicle Books, click here.