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).
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.
Botanical Brew author Amy Blackthorn weighs in on how to make a magical New Years Eve cocktail to “revive” your spirits and welcome protection, purification, and transcendence.
The one good thing about 2020 is we won’t have to suffer through watered down cocktails in an overcrowded venue while counting down the clock on New Years Eve. Here, bestselling author Amy Blackthorn shares how to prepare a lush botanical brew with intention at home, as well as the magical benefits of lemon, Lillet Blanc, and juniper berries, and more.
Blackthorn says her Corpse Reviver recipe (see below) is good for protection, purification, and transcendence, making it a great choice for NYE. While these intentions are fairly serious (and necessary as we move into the next year), it's best to infuse each ingredient with a sense of play: “Making projects, recipes and cordials, it's all supposed to be fun. Whether you're trying the cocktails, mocktails, or a homemade soda, enjoy the journey. No one is judging your outcome, your progress or your recipes. This is your time to connect with yourself, your magic, and the nature of botanicals,” Blackthorn tells Enchantments.
The idea is to prepare each ingredient with focused intention: “As you slice the lemon, visualize cutting the ties of anything holding you back,” Amy Blackthorn says. “Lemon has the magick of purification.” Lillet Blanc, an aperitif with notes of honey, citrus, and mint, “carries the magic of inspiration, overcoming obstacles and devotion,” she adds. Cointreau, another spirit in the brew, has the magic of abundance and affection. “All of these botanicals carry their own inherent magical properties as fruits and herbs. The effect only increases as they are processed, distilled and handled.”
Gin, a spirit made with juniper berries, is also in the Corpse Reviver, adding the magical benefits of protection and aura cleansing to your brew. A slowly maturing shrub, juniper berries take “two to three years of sunshine, rain water, and plenty of CO2 from human breath and environment” to fully ripen. When harvested, the berry (which is actually a seed cone) is “useful in at least five protection applications magically, as well as banishing evil, protection from harm by animals, aura cleansing, increasing the frequency of dreams and prosperity,” says Blackthorn.
If cocktails aren’t your thing or you’d like alternative ways to utilize the power of juniper, Blackthorn recommends making a bitters (a tincture used to flavor beverages) instead. “You can get a hint of that delightful green flavor without adding the bulk of gin itself.” She dedicated an entire chapter entitled “Feeling Frisky” in her book to shrubs and syrups.
This recipe calls for a fancy champagne saucer, but of course any glass will do. “Allow yourself to be fallible. Not every concoction is going to be a stunner. That's okay. You'll learn from the experience, and move on. Gordon Ramsey isn't looking to judge your cocktail-ability,” Blackthorn adds. “There's two kinds of magic in these potions: first, the inherent properties of these fruits, herbs and others. Second, the magic 'oomph' you supply when creating these recipes. Without you there to activate the magic inherent to these ingredients, they're simply tasty beverages. Don't forget to empower them in the way that suits you best. The final magical ingredient is always you.”
Blessed be for this new year witches and we’ll see you in 2021! Here’s the full recipe, courtesy of Red Wheel/Weiser publishing, below:
For more on making magical brews at home, check out this "Old fashioned Witch" recipe here.
By Amber C. Snider
Author of the bestselling book Botanical Brews, Amy Blackthorn shares her “Old Fashioned Witch” recipe and why it’s a perfect cocktail for the holidays.
Made with orange bitters, amaretto, and bourbon, this old fashioned cocktail is sure to warm up the season and sweeten your Yule celebrations. Anything we create can be magickal when made with intention, so for all you kitchen witches out there, this recipe by author Amy Blackthorn is brimming with festive possibilities.
“The measure of a great bartender is often how they make the 'Old Fashioned,' but with the addition of amaretto, you're adding not just the delicious flavor of almond, but the magic of creativity, defense against evil, and opening of the mind,” Amy Blackthorn tells Enchantments. It’s not just a tasty drink, but reminds us that “magic can be found anywhere.” The amaretto adds a balanced sweetness, especially for those who don’t want an overly sugary cocktail.
Made with orange peel and orange bitters, (Amy calls the fruit the “star of the citrus crown), these small ingredients are packed with sunshine to help bring in the light on the dark days following the Winter Solstice. “Oranges are the perfect ally for magick aligned with the sun, prosperity, acton, confidence, creativity, business assistance, fortune, and calm,” she says.
Bourbon, one of the main ingredients found in the recipe, also has magical uses. The principal ingredient of bourbon is corn, which can help in spells dealing with balance, purpose, mental acuity, and binding agreements. The best part is, you probably already have most of the ingredients lurking somewhere in your kitchen cabinet. “It’s easy to make and unassuming, so a couple sharing a quiet Yuletide night at home during lockdown can still celebrate the magic of the season,” Blackthorn says.
“The magical energies of confidence and the return of the sun are perfect for the zest of the orange. Amaretto wards against evil, and bourbon brings prosperity and balance. Putting that together, the magical math, if you will, sounds like the perfect recipe to welcome back the sun,” Blackthorn concludes.
Want to create this delightfully delicious Yule cocktail at home? Check out the full recipe below.
Want more ideas for Yule? Check out our bestselling gifts at Enchantments here.
Need a last minute gift for the holidays? Here are a few of our trending & bestselling items, available online or in the Enchantments shop.
From the latest books to Moon Calendars, hand-carved candles, salt baths, and more, we've got something for every witch on your list.
Llewellyn's 2021 Witches' Datebook (available in-store at Enchantments or online here)
A must-have for the new year and a perfect holiday gift, this witches' datebook is currently flying off the shelves at Enchantments. Complete with illustrations from award-winning artist Jennifer Hewitson and ways to celebrate the Wheel of the Year, the datebook also contains spells, Celtic tree months, seasonal yoga poses, recipes, and magical tips.
Moon Calendar Poster by Margins Imprint (available in-store at Enchantments or online here)
Screen-printed in California and made with water and soy based inks, these Moon Calendars sell out at Enchantments nearly every year. They're affordable and look fabulous with or without a frame. Get it before the New Year drops, when we can collectively say good riddance to 2020.
Blackthorn's Botanical Brews (available in-store at Enchantments or online here)
Eager to conjure up something magically delicious for Yule? Amy Blackthorn's latest title is a new favorite amongst Enchantments' customers. Complete with festive recipes and savory kitchen witchin' sippins, impress your social-distant friend pod with a sampling from this book. Like the other items in the list, this book is also flying clear off our wooden shelves, so call the shop for availability. While you're at it, check out her Botanical Magic book, too.
Solar Blast Candle (Handcrafted, customized, and available in-store or online here)
2020 is the kind of year that makes you wish you had the supernatural powers of Samantha Stephens from Bewitched and could wiggle your swabbed nose and have it just be over already (or the fury of Nancy from The Craft, if that's your kink). But fret not, real magic is still possible. Solar Blast candles are especially popular around this time of year because they promote joy, vitality, energy, and growth. And let's face it, we all need a heavy dose of all those things.
Moonology Diary (available in-store or online here)
New for 2021 (thank the Gods & Goddesses), this Moonology Diary is a great tool for astrology lovers seeking to harness the Moon's power for positive change. Set intentions for the lunar cycles, manifest goals for each month, learn how to work with the four eclipses and Super Moons in 2021, and get the low down on the rare "Great Conjunction" (an astrological event that will bring about big shifts and release in this upcoming year). A favorite among customers, come by to get it fresh off the press in the Enchantments shop!
Orishas, Goddesses, and Voodoo Queens
Complete with fascinating tales of orishas and goddesses from African and Afro-Caribbean religions (including Lucumi and Haitian Vodou), as well as insight into world famous Voodoo Queens, Lilith Dorsey’s latest book is filled with ritual tips, folklore, practical recipes, spells, offerings, and more. Orishas, Goddesses, and Voodoo Queens pays homage to these sacred, yet often misunderstood practices. By looking to women of color to “elucidate the intersectionality” of goddess spirituality and feminism, Dorsey points out that "modern women seriously need ways to connect with, and understand, their ancestral warrior strengths and power. "
Sea Priestess Candle (Handcrafted, customized and available in-store or online here)
Invoke the healing power of the Great Ocean Mother with a customized, 7-day Sea Priestess Candle. This deep blue, hand-carved candle is good for deep emotional healing and rebirth. What better way to end this year than a healing ritual dedicated to the nurturing, yet fierce power of the Ocean Mother. You can also pair the candle with hand-blended oil here. *Note: this candle is not available in a kit, but you can order the full candle online or shop in-store.
Spellwork for Self-Care (available in-store or online here)
This enchanted new book by Potter Gift offers 40 spells that infuse health & wellness with a dose of magic. As a mystical guidebook, it takes an "old-fashioned approach to the practice of self-soothing" and addresses our societal hunger for alternate paths to more a conscious, fulfilling life. Topics range from work/life balance to relationships, herbal home remedies, and more. A new bestseller among Enchantments' customers.
Hand-blended Salt Baths (available in-store or online here)
Made in-house with magickal oils and dried herbs, our sea salt baths are great for a long, meditative soak in the tub on a cold winter's day. Choose from Divine Muse (great for artists and creative inspiration), Peace & Protection, Prosperity, Rebirth, Sun, Van Van and more. At $5 each online, they also make great gifts.
Want more stories and gift ideas? Check out our 2020 staff book picks here.
By Amber C. Snider
Bath recipes, incense blends, and rituals to help get you through the winter months.
As we inch our way towards the Winter Solstice, celebrating nature’s cycles may seem harder to bear this year. For many, 2020 has already seemed like one long, drawn out night. But sometimes the shadows can reveal deeper knowledge and profound magic.
We don’t have to let isolation, loneliness, or fear take away our inner light. Here are ways you can alleviate winter blues, promote joy, and find peace this winter season.
We love our salt baths baths, oh yes we do. Winter is the perfect time to begin or return to your ritual bath practice. Not only does it provide physical warmth and comfort, but it’s a powerfully meditative and magical time to connect with yourself and the spirit world.
Here are some hand-blended salt bath blends for winter:
Peace of Mind (purchase from shop here) –– Calms the mind and helps you let go of stress
Psyche’s Balm Bath (purchase from shop here) –– Uplifting blend to help sooth a restless mind and spirit; Helps promote emotional balance during tough times
Hecate (purchase from shop here) –– Devotional blend to Hecate; Great for new moon rituals
Peace & Protection Bath (purchase from shop here) –– Promotes of feeling security and peace
Sun Bath (purchase from shop here) –– To promote energy, vitality, and honor the return of the Sun
Or make your own blend at home: Try adding a few drops of bergamot oil (for a citrusy stimulation), patchouli, musk, rosemary, or clove (all oils can be ordered online at the Enchantments shop here) to 1-2 cups of sea salt or epsom salt (don't use table salt). Next, mix in fresh or dried herbs/flowers of your choice w/ the salt or place directly in the bath water. Soak in your magic.
Quick at-home recipe recommendation: Enchantments’ witch Kristi Klein recommends creating your own bath blend using fresh flowers (usually roses), sea salt, and Helen of Troy oil (which is used to bring out inner beauty).
Signature Hand-Blended Incense
Start the day by burning incense in your home to promote good vibes, especially while you work from home. For the cold winter months, we especially love: Yule, Sun (“It’s very uplifting and always helps to shift my mood,” says Kristi Klein), Egyptian Temple incense, House Blessing incense, Meditation incense, Relaxation incense, and Winter Woods Incense. All incense blends can be purchased at the online shop here or in-person during business hours. Simply add a tablespoon or less of incense into a fire-proof dish (no charcoal required) and touch fire to it.
Or create your own version at home: Sacred smoke is great for cleansing the energy of your home, raising vibrations, promoting good spirits, and clearing out stagnation. Try burning Frankincense, Myrrh, or Copal resin on a piece of charcoal to start the day and end the evening.
Also known as psychological acupressure, EFT may help alleviate anxiety, stress, and balance your energy systems. If you’ve never tried it before, here’s an article from Well + Good that explains more.
Enchantments’ witch Kristi Klein says that EFT tapping has helped reset her mind and clear out negative thought patterns and beliefs. “I’ve definitely been struggling with loneliness myself, so I’ve gotten back into EFT tapping. I also listen to a lot of binaural beats while mentally chanting a mantra,” she says. “Usually something like ‘I am grounded, safe, and loved.’”
DIY Oil Blends
Enchantments is home to countless essential and fragrance oils, perfect for mixing into baths, salt blends, or perfumes. Check out our simple guide to magical oils here and learn about how the power of scent can transform your mood.
For bath: Add a few drops of your favorite scent directly into the water. Try birch, bay, cedar, eucalyptus, lemon, and/or sage clary essential oil. Essential and fragrance oils can be purchased online here.
Diffusers: Add 5-7 drops of a fragrance oil into your diffuser and bask in the aroma. Try all spice, apple blossom, bergamot, cinnamon, fig, frankincense, tea rose, or tobacco. “Clove oil is always nice for a warm boost,” says Klein.
To wear: Combine a few drops from any of the 2-3 oils above with carrier oil (such as Jojoba, rose hip seed oil, or coconut oil) in order to dilute before applying to the skin.
7-Day Spell Candles
If you're a newcomer to candle magick, that's okay. Check out our FAQ about spell candles and Part II here, as well as our dedicated Candle Magick section to learn more. Each candle is hand-carved in the shop, customized with your name, astrological sign, and dressed with hand-blended oils and incense.
We especially love the following spell candles during the winter time, since they each promote self-love, happiness, inner wisdom, and help promote feelings of security and warmth.
Solar Blast (purchase online here) –– Helps the Sun come through to cleanse, purge and rejuvenate your entire being. Provides positive energy for all your endeavors.
Heart Chakra Candle (purchase online here) –– For cleansing, healing, balancing and strengthening the heart chakra. This chakra is associated with love, self-love, acceptance, balance, intimacy, compassion and relationships.
Root Chakra Candle (purchase online here) –– One of our favorite candles for 2020. Read an in-depth feature on how to balance your root chakra here, complete with an exclusive root chakra ritual from Enchantments.
Love & Happiness Candle (purchase online here) –– Much like a solar blast, this candle focuses on bringing an abundance of love and joy into your life. Paves the way for new friendships and/or relationships, memorable moments with loved ones and increased self-love.
Great Mother Candle (purchase online here) –– A devotional candle for the Goddess
Purple Wisdom Candle (purchase online here) –– For gaining wisdom in the ancient sciences such as astrology, hermetic magic, Qabalah and other magickal systems. Also for divine insight in making decisions.
Want to read more? Here's another article on how to practice self-love during hard times.
Curl up with your favorite witchy brew and any one of these 10 delicious new reads for 2020. Here are our staff picks to help you enhance your intuitive skills, earth-based practices, ancestral magic, and more.
Orishas, Goddesses, and Voodoo Queens, The Divine Feminine in the African Religious Traditions by Lilith Dorsey
Complete with fascinating tales of orishas and goddesses from African and Afro-Caribbean religions (including Lucumi and Haitian Vodou), as well as insight into world famous Voodoo Queens, Dorsey’s latest book is filled with ritual tips, folklore, practical recipes, spells, offerings, and more. Orishas, Goddesses, and Voodoo Queens both honors and pays homage to these sacred, yet often misunderstood practices. By looking to women of color to “elucidate the intersectionality” of goddess spirituality and feminism, Dorsey points out that "modern women seriously need ways to connect with, and understand, their ancestral warrior strengths and power. " *A staff favorite and top pick for 2020.
Witch Hunt: A Traveler's Guide to the Power and Persecution of the Witch by Kristen J. Sollée
Author of Cat Call: Reclaiming the Feral Feminine and the wildly popular Witches, Sluts, Feminists, Sollée’s latest title (released this fall) combines memoir and travel with a historical deep dive on witch trials around the U.S. and Europe. Read our interview with her here for more.
Tarot: No Questions Asked Mastering the Art of Intuitive Reading Practical Techniques and Exercises by Theresa Reed
In her latest book, “Tarot Lady” Theresa Reed offers an intuitive workbook for those seeking insight into the tarot, including interpretations of individual cards and spreads. Designed to “hone your intuition and sharpen your interpretation skills,” even without previous knowledge of the deck, this book is great for beginners and advanced practitioners alike who seek to broaden their reading abilities. Read Enchantments' interview with Theresa Reed, on her previous book co-authored with Shaheen Miro, Tarot for Troubled Times, here.
Queering Your Craft by Cassandra Snow
Written to "specifically address the needs of those who are queer, marginalized, living in the shadows, or on the edge of acceptance," Cassandra Snow's refreshing new book explores magick with an LGBTQ+ point of view. As an introduction to witchcraft, Queering Your Craft contains both a grimoire of spells, types of magick, meditations, best practices and more –– all while combining queer aesthetic and DIY culture.
Entering Hekate’s Garden The Magick, Medicine and Mystery of Plant Spirit Witchcraft by Cyndi Brannen
Author of Keeping Her Keys, Cyndi Brannen’s latest title explores plant spirit rituals and practical tips for using sixty botanicals associated with Hekate, including bay laurel, birch, dandelion, hawthorn, juniper, American mandrake, skullcap, pomegranate, and more. “Poetry, petitions, and musings about pharmakeia are woven throughout,” blending personal musings of the goddess with ancient traditions. An insightful homage to the Goddess of the Moon and honored Crone figure, readers looking to “enter Hekate’s garden” need look no further.
A Woman’s Ayurvedic Herbal A Guide for Natural Health and Well-Being by Antonia Beattie and Caroline Robertson
In a world where women’s health issues are often overlooked and under researched, Beattie and Robertson’s full-color A-Z guide to Ayurvedic herbs and spices is a welcomed relief, especially in 2020. This practical guide is filled with herbal histories and uses, home remedies, and accessible ways to apply ancient Ayurvedic principles to women's daily heath.
Blackthorn’s Botanical Magic: The Green Witch’s Guide to Essential Oils for Spellcraft, Ritual & Healing by Amy Blackthorn
While it’s not new for 2020, Blackthorn’s Botanical Magic has become a witch’s staple on the bookshelf. With 135 essential oil recipes, this book will keep you busy all winter long: learn about the healing power of scents, ritual tips, practical advice for purchasing, blending, and storing oils at home, and how magical aromatherapy can enhance your spellwork. Blackthorn's latest 2020 title, Botanical Brews, will have you conjuring delicious cocktails, recipes, and brews all winter long.
Year of the Witch Connecting with Nature’s Seasons through Intuitive Magic by Temperance Alden
Founder of Wild Woman Witchcraft, Temperance Alden’s new title (released in November 2020) is packed with cultural and historical facts about the major ceremonies connected to neo-paganism, basic principles of earth-based magick, and nuanced approaches to celebrating the rhythms of nature. She also covers how to “intuitively connect to the nature below your feet and local gods,” as well as uncovers the origins of the wheel of the year.
Wild Wisdom Zen Masters, Mountain Monks, and Rebellious Eccentrics Reflect on the Healing Power of Nature by Neil Douglas-Klotz
Perfect for the gifting season, Wild Wisdom includes the “stories and voices of desert fathers and mothers, forest hermits, mountain mystics, wandering philosophers, and wise eccentrics who maintained their solitude while living in society and challenged the status quo with humor.” With selections from international mystics like Kahlil Gibran, Henry David Thoreau, Bai Juyi, John Muir, and Edna St. Vincent Millay, this inspirational little book is great for those seeking solace in the wild expanse of nature and within the great minds of the past.
Backwoods Witchcraft Conjure & Folk Magic from Appalachia by Jake Richards
A great read for the deep, cold winter months, Richards’ Backwoods Witchcraft may not be new to 2020, but it’s worth a revisit this year. A deeply moving tribute to the Appalachian traditions of the U.S., this book explores the folklore, conjure magick, and the power of homegrown witchcraft. Read Enchantments' exclusive interview with Jake Richards on the making of the book here.
For more book recommendations and roundups, check out the Books section of our website.
By Victor Castro
Balance and "tune" your root chakra with this at-home ritual.
Just as trees and plants are "rooted" in the earth, our spiritual energy (especially when working magic) needs to be grounded and balanced, as well. The root chakra governs our sense of wellbeing, safety, and stability in the world. Associated with the color red and earth element, the root chakra is known as Mūlādhāra in Sanskrit and considered the foundation for all other chakras.
Root Chakra Ritual
––1 Rose of Jericho
––1 goal/specific intention (optional)
––1 wide mouthed glass bowl
––1 crystal/stone/gem that aligns with courage or willpower (Carnelian, in this case)
––Good Earth incense
1. Cleanse bowl with Good Earth incense
2. Fill bowl with distilled water to cover half of Rose of Jericho
3. Place dab of Master oil on tip of stone and place in hand
4. LAM chant 15 times, envisioning your root chakra growing brighter and turning like a wheel. (You can listen to the chant w/ music here on Youtube).
5. Each morning for 7 days, wake up and perform LAM chant while holding your crystal in front of your pelvis with both hands.
6. Each evening, meditate and hold space to acknowledge negative thought patterns and habits that affect your courage –– and then will these negative patterns or blocks down the drain, as you dispose of the water from the bowl each day.
7. Correlate the blooming of the rose to your root chakra through journaling/sketches and carry it with you.
8. After 7 days, you should have performed 108 LAM mantras, a number sacred to Vedic cultures that equates to “the wholeness of existence.”
Enchantments' witch Kristi Klein recommends the following tips, as well: "My favorite thing to do to balance my Root Chakra is rubbing Good Earth oil on the soles of my feet. It's especially helpful before bed because that’s when my anxiety tends to spike. I sometimes also take a red figure candle and carve the Root Chakra symbol into it (and dress it with Good Earth), in order to help visualize myself being grounded.
Also just standing barefoot on the dirt ground is great for balancing your Root and realigning your system. I know that’s hard to do in major cities, but a friend once recommended getting organic soil and putting it in a flower pot that’s big enough to put my feet into. It's an alternative to going to a busy, crowded (city) park and standing barefoot in the grass," adds Klein.
Click here to read more on chakra candle magic and rituals from Enchantments.
By Amber C. Snider
Kristen Sollée discusses the spiritual and ancestral power of place, witches of the ancient world, and her most memorable experiences while traveling for her new book, Witch Hunt.
In her latest book, author Kristen Sollée guides readers on a mystical journey to uncover the legacy of the witch figure across Europe and North America. Part memoir, part travelogue, Witch Hunt (which debuted earlier this month) explores both the power and persecution of the witch, offering historical insight into witch hunts in Italy, France, Germany, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Amber C. Snider: Have you ever come across a place (while working on this book or otherwise) where you felt you've always known it in some way? And that it was profoundly familiar?
Kristen Sollée: Absolutely. That feeling is one I have often encountered, and it was a driving force behind writing Witch Hunt. I wanted to tap into the magic of place with this book, and the energies and entities one might pick up on in different locations.
A memorable example of this experience is how I’ve always taken so effortlessly to London ever since I first visited almost 15 years ago. I never felt uneasy, I never felt lost, it just seemed 'right.' There was a calm that overtook me the first time I walked the city’s streets. All I can say is that it’s probably because I have a lot of ancestry from there, that it was a real return for me.
ACS: Do you think we have spiritual or soul attachments to different locations because of reincarnation?
KS: I definitely believe we can have spiritual connections to different locations, but for me it’s not about reincarnation but specifically ancestral connections. I know there is cellular memory within us, and I have felt a strong homecoming, an electricity throughout my body when I visit certain places. Through genealogical research, I have later come to realize that many of those places are where my ancestors have lived. Places are alive with the dead who once lived there, so in that sense, the land can be as much of an ancestor as a living person.
ACS: How would you describe the connection between mythology, the witch figure in history, and travel?
KS: Well I like to think of the witch as a traveler. Over thousands of years the witch has crossed continents, appearing in the art, literature, mythology, and magical practice of disparate cultures, shifting shape and imparting us with various ideas about sex and gender, magic and power along the way. Witch Hunt specifically focuses on the early modern European witch hunts and that legacy of persecution, so I am talking here more about the witch in the conceptual region we call 'the West,' because of course, witch figures exist in most cultures around the world.
Witches of the ancient world (Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome) are very different from the witch figures of medieval, early modern, and contemporary times, but they share similar attributes (often designated female/feminine, have magical abilities that are suspect/ feared/ subversive). The travel I undertook for the book research was a way to follow this serpentine path that the witch has taken from ancient times to the present. It allowed me to explore these links more than I could if I just sat at home, reading. There’s no substitute for seeing ruins and churches and landscapes that contributed to our understanding about what or who the witch is in art, literature, mythology, and magical practice.
Amber C. Snider: Out of the 'seven countries and forty-five cities, towns, and villages' you visited while conducting research for this book, what was your favorite location?
KS: It’s impossible to choose! I honestly don’t have a single favorite. But I have always loved traveling throughout Italy, and it was an equally wonderful place for 'witch travel.'
Triora in particular is a treat because the scenery, the history, and the town itself are just incredibly compelling. Perched high in the Italian Alps near the French border, Triora has often been deemed the 'Salem of the Mediterranean' because there are multiple museums dedicated to memorializing the town’s 16th century witch hunt and a lot of contemporary practitioners gather for rituals and neo-pagan festivals there. I arrived just in time for a beautiful Midsummer/Litha ritual when I visited, complete with early modern music and a fire ritual that snaked through the medieval stone streets.
ACS: What was the strangest experience you had while working on this book? Did anything out of the ordinary happen in your travels?
KS: There were many synchronicities and unexpected occurrences during my travels, it was a very strange research process overall. But I’d say that the ghost hunt I went on in Lancashire certainly was a wild experience. There were multiple spirit boards used during visits to centuries-old sites and a lot of messages came through that I was NOT expecting…
ACS: You 'debunk' a lot of myths and misconceptions about the Roman Catholic Church/Vatican in the chapter 'Witch's Guide to the Vatican.' Why was this an important component to include in the book?
KS: There’s so much misinformation about the witch hunts, and I continually find myself unlearning erroneous beliefs about the period the more I read. The Catholic Church figures in so many of these myths that I wanted to include a visit to the Vatican in the book.
Many accused witches in early modern times drew their rituals from Catholic liturgy and prayer (and often threw in a little something else from popular folk magic, too). You really can’t separate the witch hunts from their Christian context, nor our ideas about the archetypal witch. So I wanted to explore these ideas through the artifacts I found in the Vatican Museums. The art on view is just incredible, there is so much art that features pagan deities and symbology. You’ll see Sekhmet, Athena, Aphrodite, etc. around every corner! I think the biggest takeaway from my trip there was how the line between Christian and Pagan is blurry at best, as much as the clergy would like to pretend it’s not!
ACS: Was it difficult, from a writing perspective, to weave in your personal narrative and travel experience with historical anecdotes and information? What was that process like?
KS: I always write in an interdisciplinary way because I have a background that’s steeped in both arts journalism and academia, and I can never decide which discipline I prefer. There are plenty of witch books by historians if you want straight up history, and plenty of witch memoirs, but none so far that combine a travelogue, memoir, and academic analysis into a weird hybrid like I’ve done. My writing goal is always to try something new and put something out into the ether that hasn’t existed before (or that I always wished had existed!).
ACS: Which location from the book is often 'misunderstood'? And how does Witch Hunt offer new clarity and insight into that place?
KS: Well certainly the Vatican is not a place you’d think of when you’d want to partake in 'witch tourism,' so I like to think that I clarified why that is in the book! And more than that, I think Witch Hunt uncovers a lot of places that folks might not know have a witch history at all, like, say, Jamestown, Virginia or Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
ACS: You mention visiting an 800-year old oak tree in Lancashire, England. What drew you to that tree and what was your experience like there?
KS: Certainly anyone who partakes in nature-based magical practices does so because they can feel the majesty and energetic prowess inherent in the earth, in plants. In our language we talk about being 'grounded' and 'rooted' — so many of us are basically striving to have the properties that trees come by naturally!
In a variety of pre-Christian societies, trees were sacred in themselves and were believed to house certain deities. During my research I visited two trees that were over 500 years old, one in Tuscany and one in Nottingham. The one in Tuscany, Quercia delle Streghe or the Oak of the Witches, is so named because its branches look like a coven of witches in [a] ritual. The tree emits an incredible gravitas, I wrapped my arms around her and just breathed in and out for a little while. A really magical experience.
ACS: If there's one 'bucket list' location or site that every reader should visit from your book, what would it be? Once COVID-19 is eradicated and all...
KS: I would have to say that entirely depends on what that reader is interested in! But for Americans? I’m gonna give an obvious answer and say: definitely Salem if you haven’t been, as it’s such a vital place in terms of witchcraft history and in terms of understanding American culture within a religious and political context.
Kristen J. Sollée is the author of three books on the legacy of the witch: Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive; Cat Call: Reclaiming the Feral Feminine; and Witch Hunt: A Traveler’s Guide to the Power and Persecution of the Witch. A writer, curator, and educator exploring the intersections of art, gender, and occulture, Kristen has been featured on NPR and in The Guardian. She currently teaches at The New School in New York City.
You can purchase Witch Hunt here.
To read another Enchantments' interview with Kristen Sollée on her book Cat Call: Reclaiming the Feral Feminine, click here.
A new deck just in time for Samhain? Yes, please!
When the veil between the waking world and the dead is at its thinnest, what will you invoke?
Illustrated by Giada Rose with spirit evocations by Lorriane Anderson and poetry by Juliet Diaz, this 44-card oracle deck is a perfect way to “harness the intuitive power of the year”– especially on the sacred Day of the Dead.
Here’s a look inside this otherworldly deck…
Just in time for Witch’s New Year (one of the most magical nights of the year for divination and ancestral rituals), Seasons of the Witch helps connect you to the spirit realm and get in touch with your mystical side.
But honoring the spirit world isn’t reserved for one night only – that’s why we’re loving this deck. It contains spells and recipes to “make the most of Samhain energy” with a series of frame-worthy cards that are truly beautiful works of art. Learn how to meet your animal familiar, greet and honor powerful nature spirits, perform a graveyard ritual with your coven, or discover the wrath of the Banshee. As within, so without; as above, so below!
With the combined talents of the writers and illustrator, each with their own unique magical practice ranging from herbalism to earth-based arts and ancient folklore, this new Samhain-themed oracle deck is actually a treat for every season. The creators also bring magical insight from their cultural backgrounds, including Cuba, Romania, and Italy.
Deck published by Rockpool and distributed by Red Wheel/ Weiser. Deck debuts on October 26, 2020 in North America only. Photos republished with permission from Red Wheel/Weiser. To purchase Seasons of the Witch: Samhain Oracle click here.