By Eva Crawford
Our illustrator designed a printable illustration for a meditative, stay-at-home coloring activity.
By Carmen Pouerie
Immerse yourself in magickal water rituals with these sacred herbs, tips, and ingredients.
At Enchantments, we always recommend taking a sea salt bath before performing magick (or for any occasion). Usually a good Uncrossing bath (or scrub) is all I need to feel “back to myself,” but since NYC has been on lockdown and the store temporarily closed, I realized I didn't have any left in the house. When this happens, I normally add a few drops of Uncrossing oil to plain sea salt or Epsom salts, but even my oil vial was empty. This meant I had to improvise – as witches do.
After cleaning my small bathtub, I decided my intention would be purification, healing and love. I focused on this as the tub filled with water and went searching in my kitchen for herbs and items to promote those intentions.
This is what I gathered...
With all my magickal tools in place, I lit incense (Van Van, for this occasion) and tea light candles around the tub. I charged my crystals by visualizing my energy and aura being fused with each one. I then held each herb and said aloud what its job would be for my ritual. I combined the tea and a pinch of all the herbs in a cloth sachet bag and added it to the water. Lastly, I added the sea salt, oil, coconut water and fruit slices (with a bit of juice squeezed out) to the bath.
Now it’s time to create an incantation. Sometimes I use a quote from a book I’m currently reading or a ritual poem from ancient folklore, but for some reason I was feeling something different that day. I went to my playlist on my music app, hit shuffle, and “Alive” by Sia started to play. Perfect! As I sang along with the vocals, I saw my tub as my lifeline. I saw the water as my medicine – meant to cure my spiritual and emotional turmoil. I visualized radiant, rainbow colored light filling my body as I lowered myself into the warm, magickal water.
The circle was cast.
As my anxiety began to melt away, I could let down my psychic protections and feel the energy of my intention enter my aura. I continued to sing, I continued to visualize. I focused on releasing all the negative energies within my psychic body, and as this energy flowed out of me, it would be replaced with my healing intention.
When I’m ready to end my bath and feel relaxed and fully myself again, I allow the tub to empty completely. This ensures that the dirty water that is now holding the negative energies is washed off entirely. I then put out the candles, step out of the tub, and dry off my body as I chant affirmations like “I am safe, I am healthy, I am loved.”
Sometimes it’s good to follow up your water bath with a sound bath or short meditation session to affirm your magickal intention. You can also place your sachet of bath herbs on your altar until it completely dries out and reaffirm your intention each time you look at it. After it dries, empty the cloth bag and re-use in your next bath (up to 2-3 times).
Cleansing is only one step in the process and spiritual hygiene involves more than just purifying yourself and space. I always recommend doing some kind of protection ritual and attract positive energy after you do a cleansing. Candle magick is always a good follow up to bath rituals; in this case, I carved myself a Peace and Protection candle after I was done.
Here are some other ingredients you can add to your bath...
For more stories and tips, here's how to add magick back into your daily routine.
By Enchantments Staff
A new Spotify mixtape curated by your favorite New York City witches.
It's Friday. And while most of us are still sheltering in place, that doesn't mean we can't have a good ole fashioned (solo) dance party, sound bath, or jam sesh to celebrate the approaching weekend –– or to celebrate the fact we survived the week.
Enchantments' staff decided to curate a list of our most played tunes over the last couple weeks and behold: our very first mixtape was born. We're publishing it under the theme "I heal myself through music" and you can also meditate on the custom sigil (see above and below) designed for the same purpose. Pretty apropos right now, eh?
Happy listening, stay blessed, and tune in next month for our a new mixtape (hopefully when we can all roam together out in the world). Until then, click on either image to access the playlist or click here.
To check out our recent stories on rituals, tips, and practical magick guides, click here.
By Ana Vice
The folkloric history and healing powers of sacred herbs around the world.
Part 1 – Herbal Magick: Spiritual Healing and Well-Being
Sacred herbs and plants have been used around the world for their spiritual healing properties for millennia. They’ve been used to invoke love, protection, money, luck, clairvoyance, uncrossing, emotional wellbeing and more, as well as for holistic medicine and aromatherapy.
With the COVID-19 pandemic happening now and many folks losing work, stability in their home life, experiencing disruption in their routines, and in some cases missing or losing loved ones, being able to maintain their spiritual practices in such times of uncertainty and stress is important.
Herbs (any plant with leaves, seeds, or flowers) can be blended for use in oils, incenses, baths, ointments, lotions, soaps, perfumes, teas, tinctures, put into pillows, and more. You can also use sacred herbs to stuff poppets intended for well-being and protection against illness or use them as burnt offerings to deities or spirit guides.
Before working with multiple herbs, it’s important to keep them clearly labeled and separate those not safe for ingestion. Many herbs are poisonous to both humans and animals and should be handled with care. For example, eucalyptus and onion are toxic to cats and dogs. It might be a good idea to make note of this if you have pets. But not to fear, most herbs mentioned in this article are non-toxic and are to be used in a spiritual and magickal context.
Many of you may already have some of these in your magickal apothecary or cabinet – others you can find at your local grocery store or farmer’s market. Enchantments has a botanica of over 150 herbs for your spiritual needs, but please note that they are not for ingestion.
Here are 10 herbs to help aid in spiritual healing and wellbeing –– as well as colorful mythologies and stories associated with each plant.
Apple (Malus domestica)
The Apple has several folk names including Fruit of the Underworld, Silver Branch, or Fruit of the Gods. It is associated with the planet Venus and the water element. You can use apple’s blossoms, seeds, or fruit in your magickal formulas. The apple is often associated with healing, fertility, and love.
Apple blossoms can be an ingredient used in incense or oil blends dedicated to healing. Alternatively, apple blossom essential oil can be used. Similarly, an amulet or poppet can be made from apple tree wood to promote healing and longevity.
For the Greeks, Gaea (a.k.a. Gaia) was the personification of the Earth and considered the Mother of the World. She guarded the golden apples from a “Tree of Life” in the garden of the Hesperides (much like Idun or Iðunn” who guards sacred apples in Norse mythology). In Roman mythology, Venus – the goddess of love, beauty, and fertility – is also associated with the apple.
During Samhain it is tradition is to take an apple and cut it in half and “place” (via intention) any illness or bad habits into it. Next, you put the two parts back together and bury it in the earth. As the apple decays illness and bad habits go away. Another example, which is one of my favorites, is The Isle of Apples found in Avalon in the stories of King Arthur.
Witchy Tip: With intention, try making baked apples, drinking apple tea, or make apple pie to promote well-being. Apples, honey and cinnamon together provide both spiritual and holistic healing properties.
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum, C. zeylanicum, S. cassia)
A few folk names for Cinnamon are Ceylon Cinnamon, Cassia Bark, and Sweet Wood. Associated with the Sun and the element of fire, cinnamon bark can be used in magickal formulas or ground down to make a powder. Cinnamon is associated with a number of spiritual attributes in addition to healing, such as love, luck, and money.
The scent of cinnamon has an inviting aroma. It warms our soul, ignites our passions, promotes high vibrations, and has the potential to elevate our mood. It can be used in healing incenses, oils, perfumes, and sachets.
Worshipers of Ra (an Egyptian Sun God) used cinnamon as an offering to bring in positive solar energy. The Ancient Greeks also burned cinnamon in their temples and for various ceremonies. Cinnamon is also associated with Oshun, the Yorùbá Orisha and goddess of love, beauty, and fertility. She, like the Egyptian Goddess Isis and Roman Goddess Diana, is known for healing, bringing happiness, and prosperity.
Witchy Tip: Take a white or yellow sachet and fill it with cinnamon sticks and dried orange peel to joyfully lift your spirit and provide a warm healing vibe. Use it as a potpourri or make a small cloth pouch to use as a gri gri (mojo) bag. You can also place a personal item or written intention inside to personalize it.
Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus, Eucalyptus spp.)
Some folk names for Eucalyptus are Blue Gum, Fever Tree, or Woolly Butt. It is associated with the Moon and the element of air. Parts often utilized in spiritual work are the leaves and pods, which are made into an essential oil for healing, purification, and protection against illness.
You can put eucalyptus leaves in sachets or use them for stuffing healing poppets. Eucalyptus essential oil can be used in an aromatherapy vessel for the home to help fight off respiratory illness. Also, it has been said that Eucalyptus branches may be placed over a sickbed to promote good health. Eucalyptus pods can be strewn onto a thread to make a necklace to help soothe a sore throat.
The Aboriginal Australians used eucalyptus to bring down a fever and the plant was also used as an insect repellant, expectorant, mouthwash, and to heal wounds. Eucalyptus was introduced to the rest of the known world sometime in the late 1700s. Since then, it has been incorporated into several spiritual traditions, including Hoodoo.
Witchy Tip: Try anointing a white candle with eucalyptus essential oil and setting an intention for good health.
Horehound (Marrubium vulgare)
Llwyd y cwn, Seed of Horus, and Eye of the Star are all folk names for Horehound. It’s associated with the planet Mercury and the element of air. Horehound is used for spiritual work, including healing and protection.
Named after Horus (an Egyptian God of the Sky, Hunting, War, and Kingship), Horehound is one of the oldest known cough remedies and was likely one of the herbs found in the medicine chests of physicians to the pharaohs. Horus was the offspring of Isis and Osiris. He has the head of a falcon or is sometimes depicted as a falcon. His right eye is the Sun and represents power, while his left eye is the Moon and symbolizes healing.
Legend has it that Horus went through a series of contests and became ruler after winning the final contest against his rival Set (an Egyptian God of Chaos, War, and Storms) where he tricked Set in a boat race and won. There are a few versions of this story that includes a lot of family drama.
Teas can be made with horehound to help soothe a sore throat or cough. Like other herbs, horehound can be used in sachets, incenses, to stuff a poppet, add to a candle ritual, or sprinkled into a bath.
Witchy Tip: Make a loose healing incense blend with horehound leaf and cedar essential oil (which also has healing benefits) added to some wood base, preferably green.
Geranium (Geranium spp., Pelargonium spp.)
Alum root or Wild Cranesbill are two folk names for geranium. It is associated with the planet Mars and the element of water. Geranium flowers can be used for spiritual health, fertility, love, and protection.
Geranium flowers are also used to improve physical, mental and emotional health when worn as a necklace. The flowers can be dried and put into sachets, potpourris, and baths; it’s also frequently used in perfumes. Holistically, geranium has been used to treat anxiety, melancholy, infection, and to diminish pain. Geraniums have a number of health benefits, especially for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant attributes.
Red geraniums often are used for healing or protection against illness. For example, Mexican spiritual healers called Curanderos (male) or Curanderas (female) use red geraniums to heal patients from illness. Curanderismo is based on both Aztec and Mayan influences. These ancient cultures believed that there is a fragile balance between nature, health, and spirituality. If any of these one or more of these aspects goes off balance, then illness likely will occur.
Witchy Tip: Make a simple healing bath with sea salt, geranium flowers, and a few drops of geranium essential oil.
Marigold, African (Tagetes erecta, Tagetes spp.)
A few folk names for African Marigold are Cempasúchil, American Marigold, and Aztec Marigold. Marigolds are associated with the Sun and have symbolized the power of healing since the times of the Aztecs.
One of my favorite stories describes the love of Xóchitl (a beautiful Aztec maiden) and Huitzilin (an Aztec warrior). They loved each other so much that when Huitzlin died in battle, the sun god Tonatiuh (who bestows warmth, well-being, and fertility, in addition to being the patron of warriors) heard the Xóchitl’s pleas to reunite them. He wanted to help her and so he transformed Xóchitl into the cempasúchil (marigold) flower. The warrior Huitzlin, according to Aztec beliefs, was then reincarnated in the form of a hummingbird. In this form he could forever find nourishment within Xóchitl (now transformed into a flower). The lovers would be always together as long as cempasuchil flowers and hummingbirds live on earth.
The marigold flower later became the Day of the Dead Flower, because during October 31st and November 1st it is believed the souls of the dead can visit their loved ones. The flowers attract spirits with their vivid color and sweet scent.
The marigold is also commonly associated with Ganesha, the Hindu God of Luck, Wisdom, and Success. In India, marigolds are used to make garlands and decorations for a variety of celebrations, including weddings and festivals. Marigold petals can also be used in sachets, baths, or incense.
Witchy Tip: Try using approximately 2-3 tablespoons worth of dried marigold petals and burn them in a fire-safe dish or cauldron. Make an intention for good health and well-being by visualizing the warmth of the Sun and general positivity.
Onion (Allium cepa)
Some folk names for Onion are Onyoun, Yn-leac, and Oingnum. Associated with the planet Mars and the element of fire, the onion bulb or its flowers can be used for healing, protection, lust, and exorcism.
Onions are also associated with the Moon, Lunar rites, and the Egyptian Goddess Isis. Furthermore, the people of Pelusium in lower Egypt worshipped the onion (in addition to garlic) and did not put it in food. It has been said that onions were also put into the tombs of Pharaohs because they were thought to symbolize the cosmos due to their concentric layers. Generally, onion is believed to protect against illness and improve strength and vitality.
Followers of Hekate (a.k.a. The Dark One) offered deipna (supper) to her at the crossroads at the end of the lunar month when there is the Dark Moon. Food offerings were given to her during ceremonies in order to gain favor with Hekate. Onions are apotropaic like garlic (e.g. ward off evil or anything malefic). Hekate bestows gifts and heals those she favors. As Goddess of the Dark Moon she is likened to the crone aspect of the Triple Goddess and symbolizes the light within darkness that illuminates our path.
Witchy Tip: Try making an onion braid to hang in your home. I prefer the kitchen or a doorway. Use onions with the green tops and about 3 to 4 feet of heavy twine (or colored fabric pieces). As you braid the twine and green onion tops put your intent of well being and protection against illness into the onion braid.
Sorrel Wood (Oxalis acetosella)
Some folk names for Sorrel Wood are Fairy Bells, Sourgrass, and Three Leaved Grass. Linked to the planet Venus and the element of earth, Sorrel Wood is associated with healing and health. Its leaves are used in healing rituals, can be carried like a charm to protect one’s heart, or placed in a sickroom to help with recovery from illnesses.
Sorrel Wood can also be planted in your garden and is associated with woodland spirits, fairies (Fae), and elves. The folk name Fairy Bells comes from the Welsh belief that the tiny flowers on the Sorrel Wood ring happily and therefore call the elves to dance under the moon in merriment. Be cautious though, the Fae are not to be meddled with and should be respected or else strange things may start to happen.
“In the woods the trees are tall, Up and up they tower; You and I are very small— Fairy-child and flower. Bracken stalks are shooting high, Far and far above us; We are little, you and I, But the fairies love us.” –– from The Wood-Sorrel Fairy
Witchy Tip: Take a small bottle with a cap and some leather cord to fasten it. Put some Sorrell Wood inside and wear it against your heart for protection in matters of the heart.
Spearmint (Mentha spicata)
Spearmint, also known as Lamb Mint, Green Spine, and Our Lady’s Mint, is associated with the planet Venus and the element of air. Its spiritual attributes are healing, love, and improvement of mental powers.
Spearmint leaves can be used for healing sachets, incense, soap for baths, or to put in a blended oil for healing. Some people also use spearmint essential oil in aromatherapy for headaches. It can be used to stuff a healing poppet or be used to make tea.
According to Greek mythology, the origin of mint had to do with a Naiad nymph called Minthê from Mount Mintha and adored by the God Hades. Hades’s wife Persephone, however, got very jealous and transformed Minthê into a mint plant. Hades could not change the beloved nymph back and so he bestowed her with a memorable and pleasing scent so she would not be forgotten so easily.
Another story about mint involves Zeus and Hermes visiting a small village. No one would give them food or shelter until an elderly couple named Philemon and Baucis welcomed them into their home, fed them, and took care of them. Before the meal, the elderly couple rubbed their table with mint. After receiving good hospitality, the two strangers revealed themselves to be Zeus and Hermes to the old couple. As a reward, Zeus and Hermes turned the elderly couple’s home into a luxurious abode. To this day, mint is seen as a symbol of hospitality and good health – and you can show your guests they are welcome by using mint in your home.
Witchy Tip: Try using a few drops of spearmint oil in a tablespoonful of water and add to a tea light oil diffuser. Set your intention (e.g. good health and well being) and let the aroma fill your space.
Willow (Salix spp.)
Some folk names for Willow are Pussy Willow, Old Wives’ Tongue, and Ozier. It is associated with the Moon and element water. Its spiritual attributes are healing, protection and divination work. Did you know that the original “aspirin” comes from the willow tree and aids in pain relief?
A branch of willow in the home is said to promote good health and well-being. Burning it promotes healing. The Willow is associated with the Moon, water, the divine feminine, and the Goddess. It is known as the tree of intuition, dreaming, deep emotions, and enchantments.
Willow wood can also be used to make wands or talismans. The Willow is sacred to Brigit (a.k.a. Brigid or Bride) who is likened to the maiden aspect of the Triple Goddess. To the Celtic peoples, she is known as a Goddess of healing (medicine), poetry, metal-smithing, and arts. Some say that her name translates to “the fiery arrow.” Brigit, as a goddess of healing, shared her knowledge of herbs to heal sick folk.
Another Goddess associated with the Willow is the Greek Goddess Hekate who knew the mysteries of the Underworld. As goddess of the Dark Moon (likened to the Crone aspect of the Triple Goddess), Hekate was associated with stormy weather, howling dogs, crossroads, witchcraft, and the Willow Tree.
Witchy Tip: Make a healing poppet out of felt or white fabric. This can be done by sewing a poppet and stuffing it with willow bark that has been ground or broken into small pieces.
Please note: It is important you visit your doctor for any physical or mental illness. The following is based on folkloric and holistic tips, but are not to be used as a substitute for proper medical care. Use common sense and seek the advice of a medical professional before ingesting herbs and/or internal healing methods.
Click here for a recommended book list for further reading on herbal magick. Each book can be purchased at Enchantments.
By Coleman Drew
How paying closer attention to the light can help us infuse a sense of play back into our lives.
Color Me Rainbow
I’ve been a ‘friend of Dorothy’ since I was in utero and always had an affinity for rainbows. I believed my troubles wouldn't be able to follow me if I could only just get over that archway of color and find myself in Oz. Many times over I’ve proudly worn a rainbow as a badge of honor – remembering and celebrating all those LGBTQIA individuals who’ve blazed the trail before us. More recently, though, rainbows have become a daily reminder to bend the light according to my needs.
This past holiday season, while working through my seasonal depression, I found myself daydreaming about ways to make sunlight more meaningful. As a city witch, I find it paramount to continuously cultivate a connection with nature and sometimes that means bringing the natural world into my home – be it with plants, crystals or other elemental treasures. To combat those dark and dreary mornings, I felt the need to honor the power of the Sun.
I’ll hang some prisms in my windows, I thought. Let’s take a page out of Pollyanna’s playbook and use rainbows as a symbol to keep my own ‘glad game’ going. Mind you, this was during the winter, before we would come to understand the extent of our current affairs with the pandemic. In this time of isolation and uncertainty, I am relying more than ever on these simple, yet powerful reminders to help keep me sane and optimistic. (By the way, for all you homebound folks out there needing a fluffy distraction, Pollyanna is now available on Disney+).
A Witch worth their weight in salt does their magickal homework, and for all of us, each practice is unique. While I was letting my inner Hermione Granger run wild with research, I discovered the word prism comes from the late Latin and Ancient Greek word prisma, meaning a ‘thing sawn’. A prism is a glass or other transparent object with at least two surfaces and a specific angle between them – the degree of which determines the way the light’s path bends. Because each color travels at different speeds, when white light passes through a prism, it bends and separates into a spectrum of colors.
A perfect example of a prism in action is Pink Floyd’s 1973 album cover for Dark Side of the Moon. A beam of white light can be seen streaming in from the left, hitting a triangular prism center, and bending into a rainbow of color out the other side.
Soon after wishing for prisms, I rediscovered three in my room! Once again I’m reminded that the power of a clearly defined intention will help us pay closer attention – especially if you let your dreams refocus your eyes on what is right in front of you.
One morning in between wake and writer’s block, a glimmer reflected from my bulletin board caught my eye. I looked up to find a heart-shaped prism from my childhood hanging, seemingly at attention, among the other treasures of days long passed. What a silly place for something meant to catch the light, I thought.
I’d soon find two more prisms in my room, one heart-shaped and another an orb – both lightless and hidden. Gods, what else in my room isn’t living up to its fullest potential? My internal monologue continued as my eyes found my own face in the mirror across from me: No time for a self-crucifixion today Capricorn, we’ve got some f-ing rainbows to hang up!
Boredom will either act as the key to unlocking magickal, creative play (helping us entertain ourselves and discover the world around us) or boredom will shine a mirror on areas that need to be addressed. These are not mutually exclusive, but that's another story, another spell.
I looped the first prism heart around my curtain rod and the effect was immediate. Rainbows were bouncing around my room! I giggled and quickly hung up the others on the adjacent window. I turned to admire my newly revitalized space. The heart-shaped prism cast large streaks of color all around my room, while the orb created smaller, more concentrated rainbows. The effect was utterly enchanting and filled me with glee - which is key to unlocking a sense of play.
Here are some tips on how to create the same magickal effect at home...
Each day, when the sun’s presence activates the rainbows, I am reminded to check-in with myself. Where do I need to bend the light to more colorfully express myself? A quest that began with a way to hold on to the light during times of darkness led me to understand that sometimes, it’s about redirecting the light you already have within.
For more stories on how to practice magick during hard times, click here for Veronica's story on manifesting self-love.
By Veronica Boscia
Tips and rituals to help you practice self-love with magickal intention during difficult times.
I haven't left my house in almost three weeks since the pandemic began. Even on a good day in New York City, it’s not easy to see the stars. But a few nights ago, as I sat on my porch, I looked up and saw a constellation that normally wouldn’t be visible.
I realized at that moment that it’s about balance. It’s about seeing the light through the dark times. It’s about seeing the beauty in all things – even when it’s hard to make out from the shadows.
If there’s ever been a time to practice self-love, it’s right now. It's a time to develop our inner strength and cultivate courage. There’s not much we can change about our current situation, but we can change how we approach it. Stress mixed with uncertainty means it’s more important than ever to be mindful of our energy and ultra-kind in our words.
Self-care is the act of taking care of yourself physically and mentally, but self-love is about loving yourself unconditionally, accepting yourself without limits, and embracing your shortcomings, as well as your strengths. But like many things, it’s easier said than done.
Here are some tips to help you maintain inner strength and cultivate self-love during hard times...
Acknowledge your feelings.
That means all of them. The good, bad, and the ugly – they’re all valid and okay. With each emotion and feeling that arises, embrace the flow and take time to figure out what they’re trying to tell you.
Elevate your thoughts.
Negative thoughts lower your vibration, whether they are directed inwards or outwards. Behind every negative thought is a positive one just waiting to prove it wrong. Try changing a negative thought into an empowering one. For example, if your isolation partner is getting on your nerves, reframe your thinking to reasons why you are happy to have them. Then send them gratitude for being there, for bearing witness with you – send them a beam of light. Remind yourself that your feelings are valid, but they do not control you. Acknowledge the negative thoughts – and then let them go.
Try a writing exercise.
Magick can be very powerful with clear intention and a strong will. Try writing down your spells with those clean hands!
Sanitize with positive intention.
If you have a hard time shaking away negative thoughts, sometimes physical visualization techniques can be beneficial. Try sanitizing your surfaces and washing your hands with affirmations: “I am washing away any uncomfortable feelings. These negative thoughts are only temporary. I let them go and wash them away.” Of course, you can also personalize your affirmations if these don’t resonate with you.
Moisturize with positive intention.
After all that hand washing, remember to moisturize. Many scented moisturizers are made with ingredients with magical properties, so you can literally lotion up with magical intention!
And you probably already have lotions with magical ingredients: Eucalyptus has been used since ancient times in healing and protection rituals, as well as to treat upper respiratory issues. Visualize yourself being completely healthy as you lotion up.
Another commonly used healing herb is lavender, which also helps promote a sense of peace and protection. Wear it knowing you are loved and safe.
It’s okay to indulge yourself a little.
Yes, you deserve to indulge yourself – even just a little. Was there a book you haven’t had the chance to read? Was there a project you wanted to start but figured you wouldn’t have the time? Have you been procrastinating putting away the clothes that accumulated on the chair in your room? (You know you have that chair…we all have that chair.)
Or maybe you want to lay in bed coloring while catching up on your favorite show? Do that! Wanna take a bubble bath in the middle of the day on a Tuesday? Get the bubbles! You can make the most of this time, without feeling pressure to be “productive” all the time.
Give yourself a break, but stick to a routine.
While it's important not to let this pandemic turn us into Uncle Joe from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, it’s also good to give yourself a break. Try to maintain normal hours, even if that means getting up for your daily Zoom conference, getting your work done and then lounging around for the rest of the day.
Check-in with friends and family.
This is the perfect time to get in touch with those you may have lost touch with. Nurture your friendships. Appreciate family time. Try to exercise compassion and understanding, knowing that others might be operating from a place of stress and worry. Remember to place necessary boundaries, but also be kind.
Meditate. Even when it’s not easy to do so.
Relaxing your mind is just as important as relaxing your body. Meditation reduces stress, and promotes a healthy state of well-being. It’s also linked to heightened creativity. Adding meditation to your routine may open you up to new ideas and practices that you can develop over time in the long run. Meditation helps you regain control over your thoughts; it is not about trying to stop them. Allow your thoughts to flow freely and just observe.
Adopt a self-love mantra or chant.
If you’re struggling with inner strength or self-love you can remind yourself each day with positive affirmations, such as: “I am doing my best. I carry strength within me. My kindness and compassion make the world a better place. I deserve peace. I take care of others by taking care of myself. I give myself permission to pause. I say yes to healing.” (You get the idea. But trust me, it works). If any of these raise any doubt, meditate on it and remind yourself you are doing your best.
Limit social media and your news consumption.
The world is already scary enough right now and we don’t have to torture ourselves! Maybe that means just limiting COVID-19 searches to once a day – or on a case-by-case basis. We need to stay informed, but when we are grounded in peace, it’s easier to operate from a place of love.
Remember you’re doing what you can.
Especially now, it’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling like we are not doing enough or that we’re not being productive enough. Aside from essential workers, many of us have found ourselves with a lot of spare time. But think of this time as a free pass to nurture ourselves emotionally, spiritually, creatively and intellectually. The universe has literally put our everyday lives on pause –– It asks us to stay home.
Keep a gratitude journal.
A good technique to do before bed is to either list everything you are thankful for – or, at the very least, jot down three positive things that happened that day. Going to bed with a sense of gratitude can improve your sleep, as well as getting you into a better mindset the next morning.
For more Enchantments’ stories, check out Stacy’s Self-Love Spell here and Carmen's practical guide to keeping a magickal routine.
By Eva Crawford
Want to give your children (or yourself) a magickal project this week? Our illustrator Eva Crawford designed a printable enchanted forest cove illustration for the perfect stay-at-home activity.
By Carmen Pouerie
Whether you're an experienced witch or looking for a way to keep yourself sane during these uncertain times, these tips helped me regain a sense of control.
Being the manager of Enchantments means I incorporate magickal practices into my everyday life. When the shop was forced to close during the COVID-19 quarantine, the disruption to my routine really threw me off balance. After self-isolating for three days (while my partner still had to go to work), my state of mind was dangerously dark. My moods would swing wildly from calm logic – knowing we can and will get through this – to a desperate panic that someone I love might bring the virus back with them.
After a long talk with my therapist, who suggested mimicking normalcy as much as possible, I decided to renew my magickal routine. I also realized that our customers might be going through the same thing, so I put together some tips on how to use our spiritual gifts to manifest peace.
Cleanse. Like water, the air around us can get stagnant with energy.
Cleaning your space, both physically and energetically, really helps clear away the negative energy – especially when you’re stuck indoors for an extended period of time. Say an incantation or sing a song while you’re disinfecting your home (make sure you wipe all door knobs, light switches, cabinet/drawer handles, phones, glasses, and anything else your hand would touch regularly).
Witch tip: Add a splash of Florida water or lemon essential oil to your disinfecting solution with the intention to remove harmful energy from the room or object. Chanting, smudging, and taking sea salt baths are helpful practices, as well.
Create a routine. Magick is all about routines.
Witches of all paths follow different natural cycles as part of their practice. We observe the cycles of the moon, we follow the wheel of the year, and celebrate the Witches’ Sabbaths (Happy Ostara!). It’s important to maintain a daily routine, which can be as simple or complicated as you are able to make it.
Try to mimic your normal day, if you can: Get up out of bed and shower. Open your curtains and make your bed. Try to eat and drink (and also feed your familiars) on a regular schedule. Set reminders on your phone to water your plants, especially when the days start to blend together.
Light a candle or incense daily.
At the shop, we light all the altars and smudge the space with our handmade incense before we open. If you have incense, light some with an intention for the day (lately I’ve been burning Peace, Healing, and Van Van). If you don’t have or can’t burn incense, a small candle can serve the same purpose.
Meditate or visualize for protection and healing.
Set a daily time to center and quiet your mind. We encourage all our staff and our customers to read Denning and Phillips’ Practical Guide to Psychic Self-Defense. The authors use a method of visualizing a “tower of light” surrounding your aura. This will help to strengthen you and establish a system of protection that you can always have with you. You can also meditate back on a time in which you felt really safe and calm to bring that energy around you and change the vibrations in the room.
Make crystal grids for healing.
A crystal grid is the use of crystals in a geometric configuration that can be placed on or around a person, place, or thing to achieve a desired intention. Gather your gemstones, charge them with intention (visualize filling them with your energy, almost like a battery), focus on your desired outcome and place the crystals with intuitive intention. Feel where the crystals want to go.
Once in place, visualize beams of light or energy connecting your crystals together in a web. In The Essential Guide to Crystals, Minerals, and Stones, Margaret Ann Lembo recommends the following gemstones for healing and protection: amethyst, clear or rose quartz, black tourmaline, obsidian, hematite, green aventurine, garnet, selenite.
Listen to your body.
This down time is allowing us to be present with ourselves without the distraction of responsibilities outside of our homes. Sometimes I neglect to eat or drink water while I’m working. Make it a point to eat or drink when your body asks you to. Rest when you’re tired, both physically and emotionally. Take time to yourself when you are overwhelmed. Reach out to your support system when you are lonely. Meet your body’s basic needs.
Practice self-care. It’s not selfish, it’s necessary.
When our physical and mental health is at risk, doing little things to make yourself happy are very important. Now is a good time to care for your body by trying a new skin care item, take long bubble baths, style your hair, paint your nails, etc.
You can care for your mental health by journaling, expressing your thoughts to your family and loved ones (while maintaining social distance), cooking your favorite meal, spending time with your pets, or picking up a new hobby you never had time for. Take time for yourself.
Create incantations and sigils.
Incantations are simply singing your intentions over an object or during an action to achieve a specified intention. While we’re alone, there is no one around to hear our silly little poems or phrases, so speak your intentions aloud. It will help to strengthen it, as well as let you hear a voice that isn’t your TV.
Sigils are magical symbols and can be as simple as a happy face for happiness or as intricate as one of the Seals of Solomon. To create your own, write out your intention in a few words, then eliminate repeating letters. After that, you can attempt to combine all the remaining letters into a unique symbol that is specific to you.
Life is truly magickal and intention is all you need. You have the magick within you. We may not know what “normal” is anymore, but at least we can honor what is normal for us as witches. And I know one thing for certain: I can’t wait to get back to Enchantments and create magick for the public once again.
For more Enchantments' stories, click here.
By Head Witch Stacy Rapp
It's time to use our magic to help the world heal. White is good for purity, cleansing, clearing energy, and encompasses all the colors. Blue is good for calming, anxiety release, peace, protection, and communication.
Here's what you'll need:
This is a modification of a spell that was going around the internet about lighting a candle for healing the world.
Dip your fingers in the bowl and use the sea salt water to "wash" your hands as you say:
"I call upon the healing power of the oceans to wash this sickness from the world and to heal all those already sick."
Light the candle and say: "May the Goddess bless and protect all the medical professionals fighting on the front lines of this war. Keep them safe and healthy so they can save everyone."
So mote it be! Blessings to all.
Now is a time to turn inward and focus on healing the mind, body, and spirit. Here, we’ve compiled tips from our in-house witches to help you navigate these uncertain times.
Cleanse your altars, as well as your home.
“Now is an important time to cleanse your home, both literally and metaphorically,” says witch Carmen Pouerie. Since many of us are stuck inside, energy can get pretty stagnant. Clean your space thoroughly using your regular products, paying special attention to your altars. Afterwards, set an intention and bathe your surroundings in the sacred smoke of your choice.
Rededicate or ask your deities/ guides to be closer to you.
It’s a good time to turn inwards and also ask for guidance from our ancestors, spirit guides, deities, angels, gods/goddesses, saints, the universe, etc. Ask them to assist you with raising your vibrations (so you can be truly present for others, yourself, and focus on love/compassion) and ask for protection during these uncertain times. Set out offerings, if that’s in your practice, light a white candle, and talk to them directly.
Create a “wellness station” at home.
Transform a small corner of your apartment/house into a place for reflection, meditation, spells, and turning inward. “Rearrange your furniture (even temporarily, until all this is over) to make space for spiritual healing,” says Amber Snider. “Add a yoga mat (if that’s in your practice), pillows, blankets, candles, and anything else to make you feel cozy. Let this space be a screen-free zone unless you’re using your phone or computer for meditation and visualizations.”
Use cooking herbs with intention.
If you don’t already own a copy of Scott Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, there’s a lot of information already out there on the web regarding the magickal and healing properties of herbs. Each time you use basil, thyme, rosemary, pepper, salt, oregano, and any other herb, focus on the power of the herb to heal and bring that energy into your food (which you then consume into your body). Cooking can become a sacred ritual at this time, especially when done with intention.
Visualizations are key to calming the breath and re-centering yourself.
Start integrating light visualizations and meditations into your daily routine several times a day. “I’ve found I need to take breaks to ground and calm myself. I’ve been imagining that I’m standing under a golden waterfall. I’ll do the exercise with my arms up in the air. At the same time, it helps me calm my breathing,” says Enchantments’ photographer and witch Victor Castro.
Burn incense in your home to uplift your senses.
“Good Earth is super effective, especially since I'm a high-frequency water sign,” says Castro. Other options include House Blessing and any kind of “love” incense to raise vibrations. If you don’t already have these hand-blended incenses at home, you can burn your regular stick incense like nag champa.
Draw daily oracle cards to keep a mood for the day.
Carmen Pouerie recommends drawing an oracle card or tarot card for the day to help your inward focus. This practice can add profound insight into our life and show us what we need to work on, what may be missing, and what we’re not seeing. Use them as a meditation tool throughout the day. Ask yourself: What is this card trying to show me that I wasn’t seeing before? What insights can it offer? What lessons can I gain from it?
Cloves for the cure – even spiritually
Victor Castro says that using cloves during this time has been super helpful for him. “I’ll take the clove in my fingers and crush the bud into powder and tap my forehead and temples with it.” It instantly calms him, he says. You can also add clove to your teas, especially since they’re rich in antioxidants.
A message from Enchantments: With New York State on PAUSE, we must extend our closing to early April. We’re hoping to reactivate online orders by April 7th. This is subject to change as we continue to learn more. In the meanwhile, the Enchantmments coven sends everyone love & vibrational bear hugs.
By Amber C. Snider, with recommendations by Enchantments' staff
We've rounded up our very favorite tarot decks – perfect for gifting or adding to your own collection.
There are two kinds of witches in the world: those who believe that a tarot deck should be given or received as a gift – and those who don't. Whichever kind you are, we've got you covered with these 12 handpicked beauties; perfect gifting for your astrology-obsessed cousin, art-loving bestie, or even yourself.
Decks are available for purchase at the Enchantments' brick-and-mortar shop or by clicking on the purple links. Happy divining, witches!
Ethereal Visions Tarot –– For your artistic, ultra-creative friend
Drawing its inspiration from the Art Nouveau movement, this beautifully illuminated 80-card deck designed by Matt Hughes is an artistic wonder. Complete with elegant gold foil stamping, the aesthetic harkens back to the “Golden Age of Illustration” and comes with a 48-page booklet.
Game of Thrones Tarot –– For the GOT lover in your life
Game of Thrones may be over, but the legacy of Westeros lives on. Fans of HBO’s mega-hit show will love this 78-card deck, complete with illustrations of your favorite characters. Written by tarot expert Liz Dean and illustrated by Craig Cross, the deluxe deck blends Major and Minor Arcana cards with the deep archetypes of GOT. It also comes with a hardcover booklet that explains both the symbolism and how to use the cards. Who will be the Empress, who will be the Fool?
Image © 2017 Home Box Office, Inc. All rights reserved. Game of Thrones and related trademarks are the property of Home Box Office, Inc.
Otherkin Tarot –– For your mythical creature loving sister (or that cousin who's always talking about their animal spirit guide)
Calling all Otherkin: this sublime, ethereal deck based on the Rider-Waite-Smith system features creatures both strange and familiar. With mythical animal-human hybrids (like a wise old owl as the Hierophant), Otherkin Tarot is a beautifully designed deck with a pastel color scheme that wants to “be left out in the moonlight.”
The Herbcrafter’s Tarot –– Perfect for the kitchen witch in your life
Using herbs as archetypes and the suits as elements, this botanical tarot deck is a great introduction to herbalism and plant spirit magic. The 78-card deck comes with a 124-page book filled with herbal inspiration, and uncovers the symbolism of plants as medicine. The deck is intended to explore the unique, magical messages plants can offer us.
Smith-Waite Centennial Tarot Deck –– For that co-worker who obsessively reads her horoscope out loud in the office
One of the most well-known and popular decks in the world, the Smith-Waite deck is great for both beginners and advanced readers. The Centennial Tarot Deck is a richly illustrated reproduction of the original deck by Pamela Colman Smith and Arthur E. Waite. Includes the standard 78-card set, plus four samples of Smith’s non-tarot artworks.
Spiritsong Tarot –– Perfect for the little wee witch in your life
Spiritsong merges the spirit world and animal spirit guides together to form a whimsical creation that has become a favorite in the magickal community. This award-winning tarot deck by Paulina Cassidy includes 78 Spiritsong animals as “mentors of divine guidance” with designs based on Shamanic and Native American symbolism. It’s a great deck for adults and younger people alike.
The Starman Tarot Deck –– For David Bowie lovers (obviously)
Inspired by David Bowie, this collector’s deck was one of the most “eagerly anticipated tarot kits” of 2018. Designed by Davide De Angelis (who worked on the album art for Bowie's album Outside), this psychedelic deck is a favorite amongst Bowie lovers and weaves together an electrifying fusion of alchemy, sacred geometry, and a vibrant color pattern.
Morgan-Tarot Greer –– For deep, intimately bold souls
The Morgan-Greer Tarot features a bold, jeweled tone color palette with magical imagery based on the Rider-Waite system. The borderless cards feature up-close perspectives in a beautiful and richly saturated design that is meant to evoke an emotional response with each spread.
Tarot Z Deck –– For the undying “Walking Dead” fan (or your apocalypse buddy)
Designed by Alejandro Colucci (you’ve probably seen his work on the cover of Anne Rice books), Tarot Z Deck is a richly illustrated deck with primal, visceral imagery. This 78-card deck is perfect for collectors, those already familiar with the Rider-Waite-Smith tradition, or your favorite apocalypse-obsessed buddy.
Santa Muerte Tarot –– For the edgy Latinx in your life
If you love celebrating Dia de Los Muertos and revere Nuestra Señora de la Santa Muerte, this deck is for you. Designed by Fabio Listrani, the Sante Muerte Tarot features a series of skeleton figures, as well as the Lady of Holy Death herself.
Golden Tarot of Klimt –– For the lusty lovers out there (great as a couples' gift, too)
Gustav Klimt’s vibrant, gold-gilded imagery often evokes a visceral reaction in many viewers. This tarot deck is “teeming with impressions...that recount love, death, sensuality, and regeneration” and is perfect for art lovers and romantic souls everywhere.
The Aquarian Tarot – For the person who never missed a single Ren Faire
One of the best-selling decks on the market, the Aquarian Deck is sure to please nearly all diviners. Combining Art Deco and Art Nouveau styles, artist David Palladini brings the major and minor arcanas alive with vivid, magickal imagery.
Each deck can be purchase at the Enchantments' brick-and-mortar shop located at 424 East 9th street. For our roundup on the best books on Tarot, click here.
By Amber C. Snider
Maybe you really can have it all? We spoke to color magick expert, tarot reader, and medium Sarah Potter on how to visualize your future and manifest your dreams.
Sarah Potter is a woman who knows what she wants, goes after it, and helps others do the same. Whimsical in her fuzzy white winter coat, celestial nails, pink-blonde hair and cherry-red shoes, Sarah is not only a color magick expert, but a friendly force of nature. We get to chatting about how to manifest your dreams – a theme that struck me as apropos for this new decade. (It’s 2020 baby, we have arrived).
“Color is a tool to amplify your intentions. Anything you desire can be manifest – and I feel like people don’t say that enough to each other,” Sarah tells me. She believes we truly can get everything we want in life. But if you don’t know what you want, how do you go after it?
The first step is getting clear about what you truly want. The Universe can’t help you if you’re flipping back and forth between life goals and mindlessly sifting through all the countless options out there. You have to quiet the mind and find that elusive answer within. Defining our desires is half the battle in manifestation – especially because most of us don’t really know what it is we want.
“If you swing really big, you can miss really hard. Taking a risk is challenging. I think the attention that can come from shining so brightly can be uncomfortable,” says Sarah. It becomes even more arduous when we’re energetically blocked in some way (and trust me, most of us are blocked in various ways at different levels). Sarah recommends using color magick and visualizations to release those blocks and raise your vibrations: “It’s such an active energy to get what you want and accept it and feel like you’re the best at something or feel proud of yourself,” she says. You also must believe you’re worthy of the good things to come.
Battling your self-worth
One way to raise vibrations is to stop with the negative self-talk: “A lot of the harshest criticism comes from within. It’s not really the outside world, it’s this striving and pushing ourselves to be better. Right now so much of the wellness industry is about ‘How can I be better?’
But if we’re always pushing ourselves forward, it can also be debilitating. Like, where are we going, what’s the end result? Death? Sometimes you have to stop and enjoy where you’re at right now. Take that moment and appreciate where you’re at instead of ‘Oh there’s so many other places I need to go.’ Constant self-improvement can just be exhausting,” says Sarah.
Ah, the backlash of self-improvement. Plus, there’s the added kickback of comparison with others. There’s always going to be someone out there with more authority, more clout, more glamour, more Insta followers, more money, a seemingly ‘cooler’ life. So how do we get to the core of what we want, rather than what society tells us we should be doing?
“One thing is self-love and self-care,” Sarah says. “A lot of self-care can be read as ‘selfish’, but if we don’t take care of ourselves, no one else will. You have to fill up your cup before you can help others. Raising your self-esteem and your vibrations, and truly loving yourself is a way to do that,” she tells me. “Also just spending time reflecting and mining the depths of yourself to figure [it] out and get to the root of what you want to do, separate from everything else.”
And where does that leave fear? Isn’t there fear associated with actually getting the thing – or things – you’ve always wanted? Sarah agrees: “Everyone talks about fear of failure, but fear of success is just as real. Acceptance, going with the flow, and easing up on ourselves really helps.
Everyone can benefit from reflection and meditation. It might be uncomfortable in the moment, but it’s going to be so much better for my future self. Realize not everything is going to happen overnight.”
Benefits of color magick
As a color advocate, Sarah uses color magick mixed with beauty and self-care rituals to manifest her desires. “Color magick completely changed my life. I live a life that is so beyond my wildest dreams that I never thought was possible. And I did it through the power of color.”
Color is accessible and we deal with it all the time – consciously and subconsciously. “It’s not this intimidating power source that we don’t know how to harness, we’re already using it. For me, the first thing was really amplifying my communication and working a lot with the color blue and activating the throat chakra. That was through a lot of blue visualization.
It was also really figuring out where my blocks were in communication. A lot of these issues we have with love and money, they’re really not about love or money – they’re about communicating our desires. That’s normally where we need to start. I realized my communication skills really needed work and I needed to feel worthy of using this voice,” Sarah adds.
One helpful practice is to “visualize breathing in a blue cloud of air and sending it through your nose and right into your throat and imagining it activating and opening up that chakra point,” she says. “I love lapis, it’s a great crystal to work with when amplifying communication skills.”
It’s okay to take up space
Believing that the Universe will open up to you and support you is radical thinking – but it’s a necessary soul awareness. “I do believe that people want to be helpful and give us what we want, especially in partnerships. Whether it’s a work collaboration or love or friendship or family. People want to be there in the ways we need them, we just have to let them know,” says Sarah.
The Queens of Wands (in the Tarot) makes her way into our conversation on worthiness. “If you look at Pixie Coleman Smith’s depiction of the Queen of Wands in the Rider-Waite deck, she’s taking up a lot of space on her throne. She’s sitting with her legs spread with a fiery, active energy. When she comes up in readings, it offers up this opportunity to [ask]: ‘How do you feel about taking up space? How do you feel about shining really brightly?’ ”
Because the Queen of Wands is the Witch of the tarot and is all about living a creatively fueled life, Sarah says that a lot of people have a hard time with this card. It goes back to this idea of not feeling like they deserve their desires. But you can “follow your passion and make your money through your passions,” she says. “You can take up space, you can ask for what you want, and receive what you want.”
Sarah Potter is available as a tarot reader, medium, and color magic consultant. She also hosts events, workshops, lectures, and facilitates Moon Circles through Spirit House Collective's Brooklyn branch. You can contact her via IG and Twitter @iamsarahpotter.
By Amber C. Snider
Clear away negative energies, purify your space, and relax your mind using sage alternatives.
In her latest book, Sacred Smoke, Amy Blackthorn explores the various ways plants, resins, and flowers form a "connection to the earth under our feet" and how we can use that connection to strengthen our bond with the self, Spirit, and mystical energies around us. In her signature no-nonsense, conversational style, Blackthorn's book opens up new ways of looking at the plant world, while offering practical advice on how to harness their clarifying power.
Smudging has been used as a ritualistic tool for centuries in Indigenous cultures around the world (perhaps even shortly after the discovery of the fire element). But Blackthorn prefers to call the practices within her book "Smoke Cleansing" or "Smoke Bathing" – an important distinction few authors make when discussing this topic – rather than use the blanket term "smudging." She wisely points out that there is "room for respect and growth without appropriation" when using these healing tools.
Here are 10 ways to use plants, resins, and oils to clear out dull, stagnant energy in your home and welcome in abundance – with a few "sage" tips directly from Blackthorn's new book.
Burn Your Own Blends (BYOB)
Making your own incense blends is actually pretty easy. All you need is some colored wood-base (which you can get at Enchantments), a few drops of your favorite essential oils, and herbs. When mixing up your blend, you don't want the incense to be too "wet" or "dry" – so it may take some practice to get the exact measurements down. By using a wood-base incense, you don't need to use charcoal at all – simply touch fire to the incense and stamp out the flame with a spoon.
"When it comes to measuring the results of our intentions, the only yardstick that matters is your own," writes Amy Blackthorn in Sacred Smoke. The power of intention is real – and it makes all the difference in your magickal work.
It's not necessarily about what you use (witches have always used whatever was available to them), but how you use it. And that "how" is primarily rooted in your specific intention and will. As above, so below.
Blackthorn recommends grinding up a bit of clove (yes, you can use the kind you already have in the kitchen) using your mortar and pestle and burning it as a hex breaker. Remember to be specific with your intention.
Pure As Myrrh
Oh, wonderful myrrh. Another fan favorite going way back to ancient times, myrrh is "restorative, attuned to success, happiness, good luck, and increases confidence," according to Blackthorn. It's an uplifting scent that can help restore compassion for yourself and others, too.
"Myrrh is also the guardian of gratitude, so feel free to burn myrrh while journaling a regular gratitude practice to cement those feelings for the long term," Blackthorn says.
One way to enhance your psychic and cleansing/clearing work is to actively utilize your breath. Amy Blackthorn recommends using the sacred "square breathing technique" to help focus your intention and meditation. This basic breath technique involves inhaling in on a four-count – holding for four – and exhaling to the count of four.
"...What we're doing is allowing the brain to relax and find its own rhythm, called a trance state," she writes. By using intentional breathwork while you burn your resins and herbs, you can then use the smoke curls as visual stimuli to invoke a deeper meditative state.
The Power of Scent
There are countless combinations of herbs and plants you can burn to cleanse and clear your space, but of course it helps when the aroma produced is especially delicious. Many people love the scent of lavender and it's often used to calm, soothe, and balance your spirit and body. According to Blackthorn, lavender can also be burned to enhance "divination, clairvoyance, psychic development, and strength." It's associated with "secrets (and their retention), balance, harmony," and more.
Simply add a teaspoon or less of lavender directly onto burning charcoal (in a fire-safe dish or small cauldron) and fill each corner, closet, and cupboard around your home with a touch of smoke. If you're clearing out negative energy (rather than invoking abundance or attracting positivity), keep the windows open and "shoo out" the smoke afterwards.
Ready-Made Magickal Blends
If making your own incense is too much work, you can also pick up ready-made, hand-blended incenses in half or full ounces. Enchantments recipes include everything from House Blessing, Sun, and Happiness to Van Van (a New Orleans blend), Kyphi (and ancient Egyptian formula), Uncrossing, and more.
Burn amber resin for happiness and love, as well as to transform negative energies into positive one. Grind up a bit of resin in your mortar and pestle, and slowly add pieces to your burning charcoal (again, in a fire-safe dish). Amber is particularly good for meditating and enhancing psychic awareness, too.
If resins aren't really your thing, you can also buy amber as an essential or fragrance oil and add a few drops to your soap stone oil burner (remember to purchase separate tea light candles for that) or an essential oil diffuser.
For a chiller mood and little anti-anxiety remedy, burn essential and fragrance oils like bergamot, lavender, and neroli.
Burn some basil to encourage love in the home or as an "offering to Aphrodite and other love goddesses," writes Blackthorn. Mmm, yes, we'll take it – and just in time for Valentine's Day, too.
To purchase Amy Blackthorn's book Sacred Smoke, visit the Enchantments' shop or click here to buy directly from the publisher. Click here for 9 spells to cure the winter blues, and more.
By Amber C. Snider w/ recommendations from Enchantments’ witches
Spellwork doesn’t always have to be elaborate ceremonies with extensive rituals. Sometimes a little kitchen magick can do the trick, especially if you don’t have the space, time, or money to go all out. You can add practical magick to your everyday life in small, but powerful ways.
Practicing intention-based magick helps raise your consciousness and energetic vibrations, welcomes in more self-love, and heightens your intuition and respect for the earth. January is a time for inner reflection and hibernation (the natural world around you does the same), especially as you prepare for big things to come throughout the rest of the year. So give yourself permission to turn inwards, get cozy, and try a little kitchen magick to uplift your spirit during these colder months.
Here are 9 spells, recipes, and tips to help cure the winter blues and enchant your home.
Simmer warming winter herbs on the stove for an uplifting aroma around the home.
You can include a mix of the following herbs: Cloves, Cinnamon sticks, Star anise, Galangal root, All spice.
*Afterwards, you can also add the herbs to a bath. For easier clean up, simply place the herbs in a piece of cheesecloth or cloth tea strainer and soak in your magic.
Burn frankincense resin
Frankincense resin has also been used in a variety of cleansing, purification, and holy rituals for centuries. The beautifully aromatic scent can help relieve feelings of anxiety and depression, and offer a spiritual boost.
Use your mortar and pestle to grind up a bit of the resin and place it on a bit of burning charcoal in a fire-safe dish. Carry the dish around the house to purify your space or keep it burning next to you during meditations, incantations, and other spellwork. ($2.50 per half ounce at Enchantments)
Wear Sun Oil or burn Sun Incense with intention
Hand-blended at Enchantments, Sun Oil ($14 for half ounce) invokes the energy of the sun and helps promote energy, growth, positivity, joy, self-confidence, and happiness. Wear with intention or add a few drops to an essential oil diffuser. You can also get Sun Incense ($9 for half ounce) and use it to cleanse your space and attract good fortune.
Do a candle ritual and with the intention of shining light in the darkness.
You can use either a white, yellow, or gold candle. Begin your ritual by taking a cleansing sea salt bath to remove negative energy and focus your intention before lighting your candle. You can also carve a personal sigil (or simply a circle to represent the sun, heart for self-love, etc) and also add your initials. You can also anoint your candle with any of the oils listed above and roll in magickal herbs. For more on candle magick, check out this story.
Has No Hannah oil
A custom recipe at Enchantments, Has No Hannah Oil brings good luck and fortune. You can wear the oil (as you would a perfume) with intention, anoint a candle with it, or add a few drops to your bath. Minimum ½ ounce for orders ($14 for half ounce, not for ingestion).
Make a cup of St. John’s Wort tea
St. John’s Wort is known to help treat depression and anxiety, as well promote healing and repair wounds. Add a bit of it to your regular tea blends or buy ready-made tea bags. The healing effects of St. John’s Wort are more apparent with regular use, so add it to your daily routine during the winter months.
Add a little hyssop (herb) to your bath and steep in its cleansing powers.
Hyssop is used in many uncrossing formulas, so it’s a good herb to use in your magick bath rituals. It’s been used for centuries in purification rituals and to consecrate holy spaces. Add a tablespoon or more to a bath (or wrap the herb in cheesecloth for easier clean up) and envision the herb cleansing away any negativity or bad vibes. You can also chant, pray, or say an incantation spell during your bath. As the water drains from the tub, imagine the water taking away any iky energy with it. ($3.25 for half ounce here).
Make yourself a cup of golden turmeric tea
Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that can aid in depression. It can also ease PMS symptoms, help fight viruses, ease joint stiffness, and help detoxify the body.
Boil a cup or two of oat milk (if you are lactose intolerant) on the stove and stir in a tablespoon of turmeric. Add in honey to taste. When you make teas with intention, offer gratitude to the herb/spice for its healing powers.
Burn or diffuse the following invigorating and uplifting essential oils to aid in happiness:
––Orange essential oil ($19 for a half ounce)
––Tangerine essential oil ($25 for half ounce)
––Lemongrass essential oil ($19 for half ounce)
By Amber C. Snider
Plant medicine and herbal rituals for the new year to help you heal and restore.
The holidays came and went, but now you’re left feeling sluggish, unmotivated (despite those #2020goals), and still wondering what day it is. All your self-care and magick rituals are truly put to the test in the month of January, especially after the cheer and hype of the season has died down. But this ‘slow down’ period is actually great for manifesting your desires and intentions because you’re not so distracted and can focus on getting what you want.
But in order to do get your spirit right, you gotta get your body right, too. That’s why we’re sharing some magickal tips and plant medicine elixirs from The Herbal Kitchen to help you heal, restore, and rejuvenate.
Break out the chamomile
Tea time for the win! Chamomile is great for calming the body’s nervous system (especially after a stressful day) and it’s also great mixed with other herbs for an ultra-healing tea blend. Author Kami McBride recommends the following recipe:
Mix chamomile with fennel to help “settle an upset stomach caused by anxiety and exasperated by stress” or try a chamomile-cinnamon tea to “relax the uterus and alleviate painful menstrual cramps.”
Try a “Longevity Elixir”
Kami McBride’s Longevity Elixir is the “perfect after-dinner tea on a cold night” – so if you’re in the northeast right now and officially over these frigid temperatures, this warming concoction may be just want you need. It’s simple, effective, and includes that calming chamomile we love.
Recipe: 2 cups (500 ml) fennel, chamomile, and coriander tea.
1 teaspoon (8ml) nutmeg honey
Warming Winter Brew
“This is a warm, full-bodied tea that has a revitalizing effect on a cold winter day,” writes McBride in The Herbal Kitchen.
1 cup (250 ml) ginger-cinnamon tea
1 teaspoon (7 ml) molasses/treacle
1 teaspoon star anise honey
Chamomile-ginger tea can also help “reduce stress-induced inflammation that causes headaches, heartburn, gastritis, and stomach irritations,” according to McBride. And after all that holiday indulgence, this Warming Winter Brew should offer some much-needed relief.
Soak in a herbal-infused vinegar bath
Give Kami McBride’s “Body and Bath Vinegar” recipe a whirl to help rejuvenate your skin and promote relaxation during winter’s harshest months. After making the recipe (see below), it’s probably best to store the rest in a large mason jar until your next soak (you'll only need one cup per bath). When possible/available, try to use fresh herbs and flowers.
Add 1 cup (250 ml) of this healing vinegar to your bath:
1 cup (96 g) chopped fresh lavender
1 cup (48 g) chopped fresh lemon balm
1 cup (48 g) fresh rose petals
½ cup (48 g) chopped fresh rose geranium
¼ cup (30 g) chopped fresh burdock
5 cups (1 1/4L) apple cider vinegar
*Enchantments herbs are not for ingestion
Add some burdock to your pantry
“Burdock root is a cooling, nutrient-dense herbal food,” writes McBride. “This revitalizing root is teeming with healing properties. Scientists continue to examine its anticancer and antitumor effects,” writes McBride. “[It’s] also known for its aptitude in supporting sluggish digestion and relieving lymph stagnation.”
Consider adding burdock root to your teas, smoothies, salad dressings (herbal vinegar), or your bath.
Power up with flower water
Making herbal and flower water is super easy and it’s a great way to detox after the holidays. We’re especially loving Kami McBride’s suggestion of calendula and rose petal water. Simply fill a pitcher with water and add just a touch of (previously rinsed) calendula and rose petals. “Herbal water is subtle; you don’t need a lot of ingredients. Just a few sprigs of herbs and a few slices or small scoops of fruit will do,” she writes in The Herbal Kitchen.
Calendula (also known as marigold) is an anti-inflammatory and assists with tissue regeneration, encourages a healthy lymph system, and is great for the skin; while rose is an “all-around beauty treatment herb...as well as an effective nerve tonic.”
Recipes published with permission by publisher Red Wheel/ Weiser. You can purchase The Herbal Kitchen by Kami McBride at the Enchantments shop or anywhere books are sold (including the internet).
Editor’s note: These herbal and plant remedies are not substitutes or replacements for proper medical or psychological care. They're meant to add to and enhance your self-care rituals and routines. Also note that Enchantments' shop herbs are not for ingestion, but for magickal use only. Do your due diligence, know thyself (including your allergies), and use only what works for you.
By Amber C. Snider
Standing at the aged counter of New York’s oldest pagan store on a recent cold night in December, I found myself suddenly overwhelmed with emotion. A kind of nostalgia poured over me as I silently flipped through the pages of the new children’s book Wee Witches. A bright-eyed, curly haired girl stared back from the cover and I couldn’t help but ask myself: What if I had this book when I was growing up?
I’d been on the hunt for age-appropriate witchy books ever since we started this site earlier this year. It’s hard to find (and recommend) magic books for young people: books that teach a reverence for Mother Earth and the mystical world around us; books that honor our Spirit, our ancestors, and the elements – and do it with a sense of play, without all the serious spells.
So when the owner of the Enchantments excitedly handed me this book (“You’re gonna love it,” she remarked), I was hopeful. But I wasn’t expecting to find such wonder hidden in its pages – that hard-to-articulate something that so rarely occurs in our busy, dollar-driven lives. Was it joy? Innocence? A remembering?
As the employees smudged, cleansed, and closed up the shop for the night, I stood fixated – transfixed – on this book. Too often, as a practicing witch and journalist, I can get caught up in the “representation” of things. I’m here to share ideas, tell stories, help others. But what about the singular joyful rapture that got me interested in magic in the first place? That sense of curiosity? The sense that – aside from the rent bills, the NY hustle, Insta-mania, and Trumpisms – the world is really, truly magical.
Folks, this book threw me. It threw me across the counter and into the seat of the soul and back to a memory of the little girl I once was. To the girl who would talk to trees and carry stones in her “magic pouch” and felt the spirit of the Old Crone everywhere. The tiny girl with a growing psychic ability but without the language to understand it; the girl who heard music in the wind and sometimes felt a little different for being "sensitive". Maybe this book would’ve helped me acknowledge my pagan-witchy side a lot sooner had I had it read as a child. I mean, the closest thing I had on my shelves in the '90s was The Witch Has An Itch – and I wouldn’t exactly call that a spiritually-woke text.
I knew I had to meet the creators in-person. And lucky for me, they were down to indulge my curiosity – and they carried a big sense of magic, too.
Illustrator Ted Enik (known for the wildly successful Fancy Nancy series) and author Beth Roth have been friends for nearly 50 years. They met as theater kids in college and continued their friendship over the years, marking the holidays with pagan rituals and communal plays, exploring cross-pantheon gods and goddesses along the way. After noticing their unusual creative spark, they began a nine year journey to write Wee Witches together.
Wee Witches depicts various young witches (one with tadpole eggs clinging to her red locks and another with glittering fairy-like charm in her gaze) in various seasonal scenes surrounded by witchy accoutrements (wooden pentacles, charms, brooms, bubbling cauldrons, fireflies, crescent moons, Goddess statues). The book uses the ABCs as an anchor for earth-based teachings, with the four elements loosely represented on the corner of each page (a nod to the work of one of America’s leading feminist Neopagans Starhawk).
It’s a playful series of poems about nature that beautifully explains the symbolism behind the Craft. There’s even a secret message to uncover: the secret name all witches are given. The co-creators described writing the book as “a golden 9 years...like a kaleidoscope. A joyous process.”
“The book is a celebration of the earth,” Beth says. Donning a black turtleneck, her soft blue eyes (not unlike the bright-eyed cover girl) convey a nurturing, yet sprightly energy. And that sense of playfulness really heats up when she and Ted (witty and humorous in his vintage button up and a cardigan complete with witch buttons) get to talking about the past together. Their bantering ease makes it clear how this book was born: through a dynamic give and take, constant play and revision, and an intuitive, trusting collaborative effort.
“For me personally, [the book] is about connecting to something that is innate –– you feel it within you. It doesn't come from an outside source, but a ‘knowing’ inside that life is full of magic....if we allow ourselves to open, captivated by the simplest beauty of life,” Beth says.
The creative choice of also including a little girl of color in the book also felt refreshing – especially when so much of modern witch imagery (including tarot cards and iconography) often only depicts the white body. We’re at a unique place in society (and within the magical community) where inclusivity not only possible, but necessary. Children especially should be able to see themselves depicted not only in literary characters, but within the magical landscape, too.
To me, it seems this book couldn’t have come at a better time. A time to reawaken and rekindle our innate magic: “Magic is everywhere if we choose to embrace it. Unfortunately we live in a culture that teaches us to turn away from our sixth sense which is our inner knowing. I want young girls to trust what they know to be true,” Beth continued.
We all carry our little old “self” inside us, whether we let them shine or not. And sometimes we forget them entirely. But they’re still there, waiting for us to remember. Over this past year, countless pagan families and little witches have asked for book suggestions, but only one has stopped me in my own tracks and made me remember the magical girl I was and always will be.
Scroll through slide show below for never-before-published, original sketches of the book by illustrator Ted Enik
Limited edition signed copies available at Enchantments. For more magical children's book, check out our roundup here.
Doing some last minute gift shopping? Our official holiday guide is here with the best Pagan-friendly gifts ideas to make your Yuletide season a little more joyful and a lot less stressful.
Female Empowerment Kit – Perfect gift for your femme friend who’s looking to invite more positive empowerment back into their life. The kit includes our Goddess of Love Incense, Venus Oil, Bad Ass Bath, and a copy of the classic tome Women Who Run With the Wolves. ($30)
Earthy Essential and Fragrance Oils –– Cedar, Oak Moss, Patchouli, Cinnamon, Bay, and Frankincense are all good oils to mix and blend for the Yuletide season. Available in the shop in drams, ½ ounce bottles, or full ounce bottles. (Price varies according to size. $10 and up).
Yule Incense – Hand-blended in the shop, the Yule incense brings in warm, inviting vibes and welcomes in abundance and joy. Keep burning during parties, during the Winter Solstice, or anytime you want to add a touch of winter wonder magick in your home. ($1.25 – $9)
Wee Witches Children’s Book –– Hands down the most delightfully perfect children’s book on the market, Wee Witches is richly illustrated ABCs book complete with pagan symbolism and earth-loving messages for the little witch in your life. Limited autographed author copies available in-store. ($14.95)
Witchy Jewelry by Sarah Sparkles –– Handmade exclusively for Enchantments by jewelry designer Sarah Sparkles (known for her spectacular window displays at Bergdorf Goodman), each one-of-a-kind piece features magickal gemstones and Swarovski crystals. Only available in-store. Prices vary ($28 and up).
Spell Kits –– These intention-based, DIY spell kits are perfect for Yuletide giving. If you’re not ready to commit to a large custom-carved candle, these spell kits come with two carved 120 candles, a dram of hand-blended oil, mini incense, and a packet of sea salt. Choose from Uncrossing, House Blessing, Success, Money Draw, Love Healing, and more. ($16)
Tarot for Troubled Times – Let’s face it: Sometimes the holiday season brings more stress than cheer. With all that pressure to “be happy,” awkward family exchanges, crowded shopping areas, and non-stop travel, it’s okay to not feel your best. Tarot for Troubled Times teaches you how to work with your shadow side, empower yourself, and cope with these crazy modern times. Hang in there, 2019 is almost over ($16.95) (Bonus: Read our interview with the authors here.)
Frankincense, Myrrh, and Copal Resin –– These sacred holy resins produce an earthy, rich aroma and aid in purification, cleansing, healing, and welcoming in good spirits ($2.50 and up, depending on size).
Oil and Incense burners –– With all that incense and sacred oil, you're gonna need something to burn it in. We have a variety of soap stone oil burners, mini-to-large cauldrons, and small porcelain dishes to help. Our iron cauldrons also come with pentagram or triple moon symbols. ($6-50).
Runes –– Runes are the perfect "throwback" divination gift for your Norse mythology loving friend or family member. We have a variety to choose from, including hand-carved wooden runes and gemstone runes. Available online or in the shop. ($25 and up)
Tarot Decks –– Gift the gift of divination. Need help deciding which deck to choose? We’ve made it easier with a roundup of our favorites here (each deck can be purchased in-store). What good luck and fortune will 2020 bring? (Decks start at $16)
For more gift guides on the best books for the Yuletide season, check out this link.
Interview by Ana Vice
Kristen J. Sollée’s most recent book, Cat Call, explores the cat archetype, feral feminine, and the allure of the cat throughout history. Here, in an intimate interview, she discusses the power of feline glamour magic, female sexuality and cat kink, as well as demystifying the so-called “cat lady” trope.
Ana Vice: Why name your book Cat Call and what can readers expect to get out of this book?
Kristin J. Sollée: Two reasons: First, to reclaim something negative from patriarchal clutches. The “cat call” is most often an utterance on the street directed towards female bodies that lauds, critiques, and polices those bodies. Second, it’s like the way cats call to me. It is the pull of the feral feminine and the magic of cats and feline energy. I wanted to play on those two things. It is definitely a feminist book, but also a magical book – and those things go hand in hand for me.
Ana: Could you tell us more about the politics of liberation and the cat archetype?
Kristen: You can’t separate this new wave of feminism and the popularity of the witch archetype from our ideas about cats and cat ladies. Cats and witches are inextricably tied to women and femininity, and feminism is the best theoretical framework we have to address the associations between cats, witches, and women and the political implications at play when you’re talking about this trifecta. Cat iconography has been used in Leftist and liberal politics for decades, from the Industrial Workers of the World’s “sabo-tabby” to the pussy hat. It makes sense that movements looking to liberate people from class or gender oppression or the chains of capitalism would think of the feline as a model of aspirational defiance given that cats pretty much have no gods and no masters.
Ana: How do you define the “feral feminine”?
Kristen: The feral feminine is a nebulous concept. It’s slippery. It’s a femininity that is not necessarily attached to any one kind of human body, but is definitely linked to feline bodies for sure. The feral feminine is a femininity that is not controlled; it’s bodily autonomy, freedom of sexual expression, it’s a response to the way femininity has been denigrated throughout history. It’s taking femininity back on our own terms by looking to the cat for inspiration.
I think we can look to Catwoman as an icon of the feral feminine, or the shape-shifting vampiress Carmilla and the female protagonists of the classic Japanese horror film Kuroneko. It’s basically femininity with bite and women who aren’t afraid to engage their claws.
Ana: Which Goddesses are associated with cats?
Kristen: Bast (Bastet), Isis, Freya, Durga. Also possibly Artemis who was once said to shapeshift into a cat. And then – this is not a goddess but more of a fairy or witch – the Cat Sidhe of Celtic mythology. There could be a whole second book about the magical and spiritual workings you can do with cats and feline deities, since Cat Call is not a how-to per se.
Ana: I perceive Cat Call as a definite gateway into deeper insights and spiritual workings with cats and feline deities.
Kristen: I’m glad! I’m honored because I wanted that and I also wanted to appeal to people who just were into intellectual stimulation without the spiritual aspect. As far as what you can do to work with these goddesses or energies, I think using cat amulets, charms or figurines as jewelry or magical objects on your altar is one simple way.
I personally have a little black obsidian cat in my home watching over me from a high place. I have all kinds of cat jewelry. I think even doing simple sympathetic magic (by having these things on you or in your home) can draw powerful feline energy in.
The power of wearing something that mimics feline coats allows you to take on feline power.
Ana: In the book you discuss transformation by way of appearance and make mention of the cat as a shapeshifter. Could you tell us more about the significance of this?
Kristen: For me, I’m an animal prints wearer, particularly leopard or tiger prints. They make you feel powerful! I quote Jo Weldon in the book (who wrote Fierce: The History of Leopard Print) about how leopard print signifies you’re definitely not prey. You may not be a predator, but you’re not prey either.
Then you take that a step further and there’s the magical aspect, again going back to sympathetic magic. The power of wearing something that mimics feline coats allows you to take on feline power. You don’t need to literally wear cat skin to take that energy on (although many of our ancestors might have for magical practices long ago), but it can be really transformative if you do it with intention.
Ana: What was your fascination with Catwoman from the Batman series growing up and how did it shape you into the person you are today?
Kristen: In the book I talk about wanting to dress as up Catwoman when I was about nine years old, and my interest in Catwoman inspired my interest in kink many years later. I went to my first fetish shop when I was in high school and saw all these “cat costumes” but knew they weren’t exactly that. So I wondered, 'why is there so much cat stuff here?' I would buy Skin Two and Marquis and see all the catsuits and cat ‘o’ nine tails and wonder why. So I looked into it further and besides the fact that cats are sensual creatures on a cursory level, early BDSM literature by the Marquis de Sade and Leopold Sacher-Masoch positions cats as the grand dame of dommes.
Cats are so elegant and powerful and brutal in the ways they dominate their prey – and so that’s used metaphorically in all kinds of power play relationships and easily fits into kink. Fast forward to today and we have these large communities built around people’s identities that are cat and kink-related.
Ana: I like that you brought up Toxoplasma Gondii and the science behind how it plays a role in human-cat interactions. Please elaborate?
Kristen: There are so many aspects to this and it’s great you bring up the science. So there are cultural stereotypes based in religion and culture and gender, and [then there's the science aspect]: the quantifiable thing that might make you attracted to cats (i.e. toxoplasma gondii, a parasite found in cat feces that is always trying to get back into a cat’s body) and makes the people infected by it driven to be near cats.
Ana: Where does the archetype of the cat come from?
Kristin: It has origins well before the early modern witch trials in Europe and America, with Aristotle beginning this negative association between femininity and cats with his History of Animals in the 4th century B.C. Then you have early Christians equating Satan with cats. Then the early modern witch trials cement this cat-witch-woman connection, so by the 1700s you’re starting to see Old Maids and cats. But of course, even in the 1300s, nuns (another type of “old maid”) were keeping cats.
Ana: Is there a way to demystify, debunk, or defy the so-called “cat lady” trope?
Kristin: If you really look back into history you see witches are the archetypal hated woman, and the cat and witch are a total pair, so if you remove the supernatural element you’re kind of left with the cat lady. The “cat lady” is reviled because of her refusal to be sexual in certain ways, and because she doesn’t care for children as a woman is “supposed” to. She is devoted to cats rather than to children or a husband, etc.
Not every cat is a super wise crone out to take you to different realms, but we can all absolutely learn something from the history and magic of cats.
Ana: How does this differ from the “queer cat lady” and “sexy cat lady”?
Kristin: But when you talk about the queer cat lady it’s totally different. People aren’t mad at the queer cat lady. If you’re a lesbian and you have cats you’re not wasting time with cats that you could be dedicating to a man. It’s celebrated instead of denigrated in lesbian and queer culture. Just learning the history of this pejorative archetype is how we can begin to embrace updated ideas about cat ladies. BriAnne Wills’ Girls and Their Cats book and photographic series, and CatCon, for example, are both doing their part to demystify and modernize the way we look at the archetypal cat lady.
Ana: Could you describe feline glamour (magic) and the allure of the cat?
Kristen: I feel naked today because I don’t have my cat’s eye makeup on! But as far as glamour magic goes, the more we can paint ourselves to become cat-like creatures the better. Going back to our discussion about wearing leopard prints, that’s powerful glamour magic there, too.
I’ve done intentional spells by creating sigils about embodying feline grace and power and then carrying them with me, drawing them on my skin with oils, and the like. Those also helped me throughout the writing process, as did staging a ritual with my cat to bring the power of Bast into my life. Everywhere I go now, strange cats seem to be a bit nicer and more attentive in ways they never were before. I did a reading where a black cat literally ran up to me purring while I was signing books!
Ana: In folklore about witches there is the concept of a familiar. Would you go into more detail about this?
Kristen: In the book I also write about ailuromancy and divination with cats. I write about a tarot reading I got with my cat and the strange things that happened. So many people I interviewed for Cat Call said that every time they pull cards their cat is turning them over. Every time they cleanse their space their cat is there.
Some people have lucid dreams where they communicate with their cat. Almost every practitioner I interviewed for this book had a wild story about doing magic and their cat involving themselves. But every cat relationship is different. Sometimes a cat is a familiar and sometimes it’s just your buddy. Not every cat is a super wise crone out to take you to different realms, but we can all absolutely learn something from the history and magic of cats.
Ana: How does Cat Call differ from your previous book Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive?
Kristen: Cat Call delves into a lot of the same issues as Witches, Sluts, Feminists, but through a different lens. There’s an emphasis on bodily autonomy, gender politics, and sexual politics, but of course cats are at the forefront instead of witches. I talk about fashion and film in both books, but the focus is different. There’s also a bit of spellwork in both books, as well as interviews with magical practitioners.
Ana: What will you write next?
Kristen: I have a new book coming out in fall of 2020. It’s a travel guide to significant sites from the early modern witch hunts in Europe and America. I’ve always wanted to write a book combining myth, history, art, culture, and my love of travel. The book will delve into a lot of the same issues addressed in Witches, Sluts, Feminists and Cat Call, but through the lens of place.
In addition to being a writer, educator, and curator, Kristen J. Sollée is the founder of Slutist and teaches a course called "The Legacy of the Witch" at the New School here in NYC. Her previous book Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive was released in 2017. To purchase Cat Call: Reclaiming the Feral Feminine (An Untamed History of the Cat Archetype in Myth and Magic) click here or visit the Enchantments store in New York City to pick up a copy.
By Amber C. Snider
In our new series, we uncover the origins and mysteries of cross-pantheon Gods and Goddesses from around the world.
Hecate (alternatively spelled “Hekate") is associated with the crossroads, witchcraft, serpents, dogs, graveyards, sorcery, and the moon. She’s known as the Triple Moon Goddess and considered part of the holy female trinity comprising of the Mother, Maiden, and Crone. She presides over the earth, sea, and the heavens and is often referred to as the “Torchbearer,” as she guides people on their journey through the dark night, keeping them from harm.
Hecate first appears in Hesiod’s Homeric Hymns, which most scholars believe was written some time between the 8th and 7th centuries. These Ancient Greek invocations were composed in an Old Epic style and the Dark Mother Goddess features prominently in the “Hymn to Demeter” (which recounts the tale of Persephone’s capture by Hades – which we’ll get to in a bit). Hesiod’s text is recognized as the first written account of the Goddess, but it’s most likely her presence extends much further back in time, pre-dating literature and even the Ancient Greeks themselves. Like many mythical Gods and Goddesses, Hecate’s true geographical and historical origins have always been shrouded in mystery.
Since scholars cannot definitively know the correct pronunciation of Ancient Greek as a language, the pronunciation of Hecate’s name is also up for debate. In contemporary scholarly or magical circles, her name is either pronounced “He-KAH-tay,” “HEK-ut,” “HEK-ah-tee,” or “he-KAH-tee.”
In "Hymn to Demeter" (one of the longest and most powerful of all the epics), Hecate assists the grieving Mother Goddess Demeter (Goddess of the Earth, Fertility, Barley, and Harvest) in the futile search for her lost daughter Persephone. Taking pity on Demeter, Hecate helps petition the sun God Helios for answers on Persephone’s whereabouts only to learn of the young goddess' abduction by Hades, the God of the Underworld.
Much later in the myth, when mother and daughter are reunited, Hecate is close by to witness the occasion and offers her blessing: “Then bright-coiffed Hecate came near to them, and often did she embrace the daughter of holy Demeter: and from that time the lady Hecate was minister and companion to Persephone.” Here, rather than being portrayed as a dark mother figure, Hecate is referred to as “bright-coiffed,” which could relate to a shining headband, veil, or her hair. It’s from this image of the three women joyously reunited that we have the Mother, Maiden, and Crone (Persephone as the maiden, Demeter as the mother, and Hecate as the crone).
Today, in many spiritual practices, Hecate is considered a distinctly feminine, protective force – but she’s also known as a destroyer. Since she’s associated with torches (or the fire element), Hecate’s powers, like the fire element itself, have the capacity to both purify and destroy.
Since she’s associated with Persephone (as her minister and companion), her connection to the underworld is undeniable. Many believe that it is Hecate herself that stands at the gateway between the underworld and earth, and because of this, her contemporary image has often been associated with ghosts, graveyards, and necromancy.
Hecate can be invoked to help those going through a deep transformation or those undergoing a long journey with an uncertain, precarious, or even dangerous destination ahead of them. She also comes to the aid of those who find themselves at a crossroad of some kind. The moon – symbolic of the emotional underworld, psyche or subconscious – is associated with Hecate. In this sense, she can also help “shine a light” on our shadow selves (or the dark aspects of ourselves that are no longer serving us ), as well as aid those needing to banish long buried traumas. Hecate’s presence commands respect, so be warned: like many other Mother Goddesses, her wrath is never too far behind should you cross her.
As an archetype, Hecate presides over our “shadow side” and aids in transformation – particularly when it comes to psychic or subconscious realms (or the underworld of the soul). Bold, brave, and unrelenting, her archetype provides us with the necessary strength to venture into the unknown without fear, for her ignited torches and presence will guide the way.
*Editor’s Note: This is not a definitive guide to the Goddess Hecate, but rather a brief, summarized history.
To read more about Hecate, check out these recommended books. To purchase a devotional Hecate candle from the Enchantments store, click here.
Enchantments’ writer and staff member Ana Vice reports on New York University’s Occult Humanities Conference.
This year’s NYU Occult Humanities Conference (OHC) – presented by Pam Grossman and Jesse Bransford – offered a series of tantalizing lectures, panel discussions, and events on all things esoterica. Held biennially since 2013, the event provides a platform for artists, academics and specialists to present on a variety of spiritual and academic topics, while also celebrating those who've incorporated occultism in their work.
Over the course of two days in October, the conference quickly became a think tank for new ideas on the evolution of spirituality in modern times. "Art as magic” and “magic as art” was an underlining theme throughout the weekend, beginning with Brian Cotnoir’s presentation on Alchemy and the Arts. The importance of elevating marginalized groups was also a key motif, (see Nectar Knuckles and Dianca London below), as well as technology's global impact on spiritual exchange.
One major takeaway? We are most definitely in the midst of another occult revival.
Here are some highlights from OHC’s 2019 conference:
Moon Marked and Touched by the Sun: Black Women Writers and the Reclamation of the Witch
Dianca London (writer, editor, and Kimbilio Fiction Fellow) took a closer look at the role of the witch, seer, and conjurer in black women’s writing during her thought-provoking presentation on the work of Lucille Clifton, Audre Lorde, Rita Dove, and Luisah Teish. Selected poems by these remarkable women were used to show how within the black literary canon the “divine feminine” has been used as an impetus for self-expression, empowerment and to promote social justice. London offered an in-depth look into each writer’s embodiment of the “witch archetype” and how it purposefully enfeebles colonialism, white supremacy, and misogyny. Every poem was like spellwork and riveting to the core. “won't you celebrate with me” (a must-read from the Book of Light by Lucille Clifton) was an exemplary poem included in this talk.
Alchemy and the Arts of Creation: or what I learned in 50 Years of Alchemical Obsession
Brian Cotnoir (filmmaker, writer, and artist) works with alchemical concepts and processes in order to remake the work of some of the early alchemists in order to gain insight into their cosmological perspective. He has come to the conclusion that any act of creation is, at its core, alchemical. His presentation focused on how physical materials utilized for a creative process (as part of “outer practice”) can be united with the “inner practice” of transmutation on a spiritual level.
In Alchemy, transmutation is the act of converting base elements (e.g. lead) into precious metals (e.g. gold). For example, the base metal lead is the lowest of base metals and could represent an imbalance of the four elements (earth, air, fire, water), whilst gold is superior and represents a perfect balance of all four elements. By linking such a “natural” process to an ideology, one may find a way towards inner spiritual “ascent” by way of outer physical practice. It was a highly enjoyable lecture with clear examples of how one can achieve spiritual enlightenment through the act of creating. Even though the context was Alchemy, the gist can be applied to all the arts.
Cotnoir's newest book Alchemy: The Poetry of Matter has recently been released by Khepri Press.
Terrapolis: Chimerical Geometry
Laurel Sparks (artist, teacher, and MacDowell Colony Fellow) held an insightful talk on her adaptation and superimposition of esoteric symbology within her artistic process. Laurel incorporates various principles of Chaos Magic, Kabbalistic theory, and a range of divinatory methodologies to produce a geometric and physical lexicon through mixed media – which is largely inspired by the music of Psychic TV and Einstürzende Neubauten. Her conceptual paintings are often made of woven stained canvas strips embedded with tiny found objects, trinkets, and sometimes glitter. Although the artwork might – at first – come across as abstract and (at times) devoid of feeling, the body of work as a whole was conceptually fascinating and full of esoteric splendor.
Betye Saar and the "Ethnic Occult"
Nectar Knuckles (recently a Curatorial Fellow for The Studio Museum in Harlem and The Museum of Modern Art) gave an in-depth talk on the renowned artist Betye Saar, a notable figure in the Los Angeles Assemblage scene and Black Arts Movement in the 1970s. Saar’s early mystical work is infused with political, spiritual, and sometimes surreal imagery that mixes occult symbolism with folk art elements.
The term “Ethnic Occult” refers to use of both ethnic and occult motifs that echo so profoundly in Saar's art. This included, but was not limited to, her incorporation of occult symbols, gris gris bags, mojos and African fetishes. A profound depth is apparent at every level, including spiritually, psychologically, socially, and artistically.
Tarot as Spiritual Psychology
Rachel Pollack (writer, poet, tarot specialist, and author of Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom), sees the tarot as a way to paint a spiritual and psychological portrait of an individual. During her presentation, Rachel gave examples of both Major and Minor Arcana from the Rider-Waite tarot in order to show that Tarot is more than a list of symbols or correspondences. For Pollack, a psychological approach can help us see “the links between our inner selves to the outer world, including the world of spirit.” She explained many of the archetypes found in the Major Arcana, in addition to the underlying system that the Rider Waite tarot embodies, as well as Minor Arcana symbology.
Her most recent book The Beatrix Gates is now available via PM Press.
Panel Discussion: Tarot Today, Tarot Tomorrow
In this informative panel discussion, Pam Grossman (writer and co-organizer of the podcast “Witch Wave” and author of Waking the Witch) spoke with Courtney Alexander (artist, writer, and creator of the “Dust II Onyx: A Melanated Tarot Deck”), Rachel Pollack (writer, poet, and creator of “The Shining Tribe Tarot”), and Cristy C. Road (artist, writer, musician, and creator of the “Next World Tarot”). Each of these women created and designed their own unique tarot deck and offered up their individual perspectives on tarot – as well as its rise in popularity and potential impact in the future.
Courtney Alexander’s experience of creating the "Dust II Onyx: A Melanated Tarot" (which sublimely incorporates original artwork, a loosely Rider-Waite based paradigm, and African Diaspora) was particularly enrapturing – and the deck is as powerful as it is beautiful.
The Giantness’s Apronful
Judith Noble (witch, artist, teacher, co-ordinator of the Black Mirror International Research Network) gave a presentation on a series of magical experiences she had at the ancient megalithic sites of Barclodiad Y Gawres (The Giantess’ Apronful) and Dowth (The Place of Darkness) in County Meath, Ireland. Both ancient sites had been originally used for burial rituals and rites.
Noble's work is about contacting spirits whilst dreaming/asleep (a.k.a. dream incubation) in these places and she believes that art and magic arise from the stones, earth, moon, and sea. She also spoke about making art during eclipses and how special it can be. I've also visited many "spiritual" megalithic sites in the British Isles when I lived in Scotland and perceived a strong connection to the land, sea, moon, and nature. I found Noble's presentation enchanting and the perfect end to a rigorous and heartfelt series of talks and presentations.
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