A crystal grid on a wooden altar top, featuring rose quartz, aphophyllite, kyanite, rose petals and more. A figurine of Fortuna stands at the head, and two candles and joss-sticks are burning.

Rose Quartz - a ritual for self-love

Rose Quartz - a simple ritual for deep self-love. This journey with will connect you with the energy of unconditional love and acceptance, and brings it with you into the 'real world' as you return to normal life. It ends with a meditation prescription for those feeling rejected, unappreciated, or careworn.

You will need:

  • Candles and a lighter/matches
  • Incense and something to hold it
  • A few flowers, or sprigs of fresh herbs
  • A journal and pen
  • A piece or pieces of Rose Quartz crystal

If you are missing any of these items, skip or substitute to your liking.

Preparation

  • Pick up the area where you will do your self-love meditation, so there is not too much clutter and mess distracting you. Cleanse with smoke or sound - ring the bell or loudly clap your hands around the perimeter of the room to move stagnant energy.
  • Arrange a soft place to lie, a nest of cushions and blankets. Loosen any tight clothing. Be warm enough in winter, cool enough in summer.

Devotions

  • Light your candles and incense, and pass all your tools through the smoke with the words 'Spirit of Fire, with this blessed smoke I baptise these tools. Please burn away any connections to energies that do not serve my wellbeing, so that I may honour and receive the crystalline energy of Rose Quartz. Thank you, thank you, thank you.'

Entering meditation

  • Take the crystal in your hand and hold it against your heart, for as long as it is comfortable to do so.
  • Lie back in your nest of soft cushions and blankets, become mindful of your breath, and meditate on the nature of unconditional self-love.
  • Invite the ancient wisdom contained in the crystalline structure of Rose Quartz to make itself known to you, and observe what makes itself known.
  • If you prefer a guided meditation, The Naked Heart is based on connection to Rose Quartz.

Afterglow
On emerging from meditation, set the intention to bring the energy from your encounter with you into the real world as you return to normal life.

Briefly bow your head to thank the energy that surrounds you, then turn to your journal to note any reflections, messages or insights that came to you.

Allow your crystal to bask in the candle light and incense smoke, sprigs of fresh herbs or flowers at her feet, for a short time before you emerge from this space that has become a cocoon of self-love.

Prescription: The Naked Heart is a soothing guided journey, in meditation, to open your heart to the nurture, healing and protection of the Divine Mother; integrate grief, gain distance from pain. You will emerge softer yet stronger, released from shame and with your naked heart restored.


Be the Witch altar to Jupiter with purple candles, magic sigils, crystal offerings on a metal try

Be the witch

My tarot card drawn this morning is the Ace of Cups: become conscious of Spirit, the guiding force, and allow it to speak. Be the witch.

It’s been a tiresome few weeks, including childhood trauma retriggered, oceans of mud, and a spiral fracture to the 5th metatarsal - nothing earth-shattering but enough to remind me of my mortality, my weakness, my vulnerability to despair at the smallest setback.

What pulls me back out is gently but consistently reminding myself: I am a witch.

And I invite you to try the name on for yourself, too. See how it fits.

Anyone can become a witch… it is simply a matter of declaring and deciding ourselves to be so. And then something incredible happens.

You see, the word ‘witch’ carries with it centuries of stories, of understanding, of meaning. We all add different nuance to the definition, but we agree that a witch is powerful, magical, disinterested in fitting in or being approved of. That she can use her powers for good or evil, that she indulges in beliefs and behaviours that are outside the norm.

She’s probably a bit frightening. She definitely doesn’t give a shit.

When we decide we are a witch any remaining vestige of a sense of seeking permission, are shed. If we have an urge to create an altar on the tree stump near the playground in the park, we do so - because if anyone were even to ask, we’re witches.

Offer with a shrug and a glare. “I’m a witch.” It’s worth saying aloud just for the barely perceptible double-take and the split second flash of apprehension in your tormentor. Are you sure you want to mess with me?

Don’t believe you are powerful enough to be a witch? My dear I assure you, you are exactly as powerful as you believe yourself to be. Everything you think, is not true - in fact, we do well to assume it is not. Adopt an air of gentle curiosity. Perhaps you are and always have been a witch, unbeknownst to your ego who has been in the driving seat all these years.

Part of the art of magic is unveiling the full expression of yourself. Or rather, the magic doesn't work unless you do so. We have to absolutely drop every negative judgement of ourselves, and be immensely ok with what is already here, rather than comparing, and judging negatively, what is here against the past or the future.

If we shrink away from the things that are (as we judge) ugly, weak, frightening, shameful… we dishonour our mortality, in human incarnation. Existence is NOT pristine and unsullied, in fact it is a stinky mess. Most of us spend a lot of time in physical discomfort, dealing with shit of one kind or another. We are here to experience all emotions, including the desperately uncomfortable ones.

If we adopt an idealistic point of view, it comes with endless negative judgement of what is ‘less than’ ideal.

And it feels like a very helpless place to be, because the resistance to all that we deem ugly is exactly what holds it in place and makes it bigger and more dramatic.

It’s just our beloved shadow, manifesting exactly what she demands in order to feel both, all, every part of the emotional spectrum.

The answer is not to deny the ugliness of the world, as so many uninspiring personal development gurus would have it (along with the gaslighting tactic of saying that your magic doesn’t work because you’re not thinking enough happy thoughts).

Instead, the answer is to try on the idea that actually you are the dreamer of the dream, and surrender to, honour and celebrate those intensely challenging aversions.* Because as long as you take it upon yourself to identify as put-upon, over-worked, under-appreciated, frustrated, anxious, you remain solidly connected to those aversions.

(* Note: if the thing you ‘do not like’ is violence like racism, misogyny, homophobia or any other system of hate and oppression, this is not a suggestion to celebrate those systems. This is applicable to aversions that are your own patterns, like an inability to earn above a certain threshold, or find a loyal and loving partner, etc.)

And to come neatly full circle, that’s why I strongly recommend identifying as a witch. To take on the name is to don a magical robe, whereby we are encouraged and expected to deeply approve of every aspect of ourselves. The lazy part, the part that just loves refined carbs, the jealous part, the vengeful part. We don’t have to act out every impulse, we are not barbarians! But we can stop rejecting them with immediate effect, and stop ‘working on ourselves’ as if it were possible to be broken.

I invite you to immediately stop working on yourself, and start loving yourself exactly as you are, and celebrating and honouring all of the darkness and frustration you have so masterfully manifested. Yes. Be the witch.

With love,

Anna


A white roll-top bath with a bathmat hanging neatly over the edge, ready for new moon ritual bathing.

A New Moon Bathing Ritual - your step-by-step guide

After performing this exact New Moon bathing ritual in October (adapted from the far more rigorous version from Sphere & Sundry), I sat in my nightgown on the lawn under the cloudless night sky, eating a square of dark chocolate while my dog snuffled around in the shadows.

In that moment I realised that I couldn't actually imagine or remember what it might be like to feel stressed, sad, anxious or angry. I felt like a brand new soul. Complete renewal.

Of course, it didn't last very long: this beautiful existence is replete with opportunities for delicious 'bad' emotions. But the wonderful thing is that regardless of your level of interest in astrology, following the moon’s cycles will lend some regularity and consistency to your practices.

She promises each month that whatever muck we have been crawling through, we can be renewed. This Scorpio season the sheer gravity of grief has seen me lying on the floor, many times. I have not resisted. It's always best to let the tears out. And after such a lot of processing, integration is critical.

To renew our bodies by soaking in warm water is a luxury to be expansively appreciated, but the simple act can be given a profoundly deeper levels of significance with the additions of moon phases, magic and ritual.

The new moon bathing ritual instructions below may be used to address lethargy and stress (hello, 2020), poor sleep, bad luck, assisting recovery from difficult experiences, illness or loss, extreme emotions and spiritual desperation. It will enhance your dreams and meditation and make all other magical rites easier and more effective.

You can get a pdf outline of this ritual using the form further down this page - print it out so you may leave your device in another room.

This is a lovely meditation for that part of the ritual.

***
Begin in a reverent way.

Throughout the day allow the sacred to seep in wherever it can. Gather your supplies. Naturally you will need candles.

You will also need:

  • Incense, something to hold it, and a way to light it.
  • Sea-, Dead-Sea, Himalayan or even Table Salt (science evolved from magic, after all) - not just Epsom salts*
  • Pure pressed virgin oil - coconut, olive, almond etc
  • Essential oil of your choosing (select according to your purposes, ie lavender for alleviating sadness, rosemary for clarity)
  • A bowl or jug
  • Fresh, clean towels
  • Beer OR blue water colour paint, food colouring or laundry blueing
  • Herbs or other magical ingredients to suit your objectives
  • Exfoliating glove, loofah or body brush, pumice stone, nail clippers, scissors, razor, shower gel, shampoo etc.
  • A bell or tingsha

If you are missing any of these items for new moon ritual bathing, skip or substitute to your liking. Magic is, among other things, the art of working with the materials to hand, to gain (or banish) what we desire...

Preparation
Tidy your bathroom, and clean it too - at the very least, scrub the bathtub. This is cleaning the operating theatre for your magical procedure. Also, your self from a few hours hence will adore you if you change your bedlinen.

It is important to clean yourself, too. We will not be bringing gels and bath bombs, hair treatments and face masks into our magical space.

So before your ritual in the evening, take a shower or bath in the usual way. Thorough cleansing of the body to ease the energetic cleansing of that which no longer serves us. Removing the detritus makes it possible to attune to subtler energies.

Scrape under the nails, exfoliate, pumice away callouses (which represent past experiences), shave any parts of you that you typically wear clean-shaven. Brush your teeth.

Begin your devotions
Light your candles.

Light your incense.

Unadorn thyself of all clothes and jewellery.

If you are using a bell, use it to dispel stagnant energies. Chime it over the crown of your head and work your way down, ringing over all areas of your body.

Pass the jug or bowl, and the bell, briefly through the incense smoke and ask the dark moon to purify them (suggested wording below, but 'cleanse these implements, cleanse my body' will suffice), and then as much as you can, move either your self or your incense around, to allow your body to be cleansed by the smoke too.

Spirit of Fire, I baptise these tools in your Holy Smoke. Empower them to cut my connections to energies that do not serve my health, wellbeing, and sovereignty. With this blessed fumigation, cleanse my body and my aura, so that my Self may be restored. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Hallowing the Water
Draw your bath.

Stir in salt. Epsom salts are lovely but have no spiritual cleansing qualities, so add another salt as well. Stir it widdershins (I don't know either).

Spirit of Salt, I pray you empower this bath to remove from my heart, mind, body and spirit, all that does not serve me. Strip everything that impedes my healthy and sovereign existence. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Beer is recommended as a reliable additive for energetic nourishment - it builds fortitude, speeds recovery, and bolsters the auric body. It adds a beautiful cozy quality to your after bath glow.

Add Mugwort (or other magical herbs) if you have it. Mugwort is the plant of the High Priestess, the Celt's portal to the dream dimension.

If you did not add beer, add blue. The colour is the magical ingredient, not the paint or colouring substance itself. You only need a little bit, and it is particularly affective when there is conflict in the environment, as it has a moderating effect on temper.

Into the steaming cauldron, drops of sacred oils: Frankinscense, Lavender, Sage and Rose. Singly, or in combination.

Entering the Bath
The candles should be lit and the lights off. Place your hand over the water in a gesture of benediction and offer a blessing.

Spirit of Water, awaken this bath to cleanse my heart, mind, body and spirit. Make me renewed and purified. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Now we offer our naked, vulnerable, animal bodies, to the hot water, thick as soup with magic and intention.

Take slow mindful breaths and allow your body to relax more deeply with each one. As your eyes close let your conscious mind step back and invite your unconscious to step forward.

Do not fear. Nothing can hurt you while you have a body to return to. Meditate for as long as you can.

As you reach the end of your bath, fill the jug with water, tilt your head back, and pour gently over your hairline and brow as if baptising, so the water runs down the scalp. Repeat this action multiple times, allowing water to course over your forehead, face, ears, chin, neck, sides, chest, shoulders, each section of each arm in turn, then stand and continue to pour and repour water over your whole body. Every inch of you to have purposefully rinsed by the hallowed water.

Lie back and integrate for a few moments. Thank the spirits and energies who joined you before draining the tub.

The Afterglow
Blow out the candles, wrap yourself in a clean towel, and go to your journal. Record your experiences, the messages that came to you in meditation, or just how relaxed you felt.

Anoint your clean body with a virgin pressed oil of your choosing, including a drop or two of essential oil rubbed between your palms and then touched to your third eye, your neck where it meets the skull, soles of feet, and heart centre.

Close your ceremony with some words of comfort and protection - Psalm 23 is perfect.

Once you are a-bed, if you have a question, ask for it to be answered in dreams tonight. If you have no question, ask for one to be revealed. Sip your water, and thank Mother Moon for all that she has given during this bathing ritual

Sweet dreams, precious ones. Until next time. And remember you can use the form just below to get a .pdf download: print it out to prompt you through the ritual without electronics.

Anna


Spring water for St Nicholas ritual for the dead

All Saints Day - St Nicholas ritual for the dead

This ritual for the dead calls in the power of an experienced and effective intermediary: St Nicholas.

And All Saints Day - November 1st - is the perfect day to do it.

St Nicholas worked and continues to work with and for the dead. If the overt Christianity in the incantation is troubling to you, you may certainly rewrite it to your preference - but remember, St Nicholas was a Christian in life, and is a Christian saint, so he may well respond to this language.

The Rite of St Nicholas

On the evening of November 1st (or any other day) take some clean fresh water to a crossroads. Spring water, for preference, as both it and the dead are associated with the ground.

Make sure you are alone, tap the bottle of water three times on the ground. Recite the following:

“Oh merciful God. In your wisdom you have chosen Saint Nicholas as negotiator on behalf of the departed. Take pity on those souls who have no particular friends and loved ones to recommend them. Those who are forgotten by all. Spare them, Lord, and give mercy. Let not the souls that you created be parted from you, their Creator."

Pour water on the ground at each of the four corners of the crossroads:

"Most holy Saint Nicholas, may this offering bring refreshment and hope to the souls in your care, may the spirits of the dead remember and look favourably upon me, as I remember and look favourably upon them. And may the souls of all the departed, through God’s mercy and grace, rest in peace.”

St Nicholas ritual for the dead.
(For a daily remembrance for your ancestors, look here.)


Memento Mori altar - a selection of family images and tea light candles on a dark shelf

Memento Mori - remember you will die

A Memento Mori ritual - to remember you will die.

There's a lot going on this Saturday - a full moon in Taurus and The Addams Family watch party. But remember death... after all, this is what this festival is all about.

Espoused by business and performance coaches, and Stoic philosophers alike, we don’t need to journey with a shaman or plant medicine to be introduced to our ancestors; they are with us here and now.

And they are enchanted when we remember them in daily or weekly practice. They love being welcomed into our lives.

Through rites and remembrance you will quickly feel the support of deceased relatives, loved ones, even pets and places, and behind them will be the steady wisdom and presence from the ranks of long dead ancestors.

You will need:

  • A small glass of water
  • An ‘Anima Sola’ postcard (to represent all deceased souls) or photos of deceased relatives and loved ones
  • A small white candle (optional)
  • Incense (optional)

Start by setting up a small altar space with your pictures, and place before them your incense in a holder, and any other small offerings such as a crystal, a little posy of flowers, or some small delicious sweets.

You will change and refresh these offerings regularly as your relationship with your ancestors deepens.

The ritual takes no more than a few minutes and ideally should be performed daily (after all, a vital part of the purpose of the ritual is to remind us that each day may be our last and to live it as such) first thing on waking before doing anything else.

1. Light your candle and place a fresh glass of water on the altar. Bring to mind your dead. Name them, aloud or in your mind. Say out loud or in your mind:

“This is an offering from the living to the dead. This is an offering to my ancestors, relatives and friends. Thank you for all you brought to the world, thank you for your frailties, your loves and fears.

Thank you for your shadows and your light. Please remember me and look favourably upon me, as I remember and look favourably upon you.”

2. Call to mind all the souls who have died over the centuries in the vicinity of where you stand. 

“This is an offering to the local dead, whose dust and bones we walk upon. Thank you for your lives in this place, thank you for sharing your struggles and passions with this land that holds me. I remember you and look favourably upon you.”

3. Now, try to imagine just a few individuals from the millions who have died in human history and are now entirely lost and forgotten.

“This is an offering to the long dead, with none to remember them. Your fate belongs to us all. Thank you for your lives, your struggles, your passions. I remember you and look favourably upon you.”

4. End by considering death as a concept, and your own inevitable passing.

“Death, walk with me. Teach me every day to die and be reborn. Make me unafraid, for death is but a new chapter, and help me live every day as though it were my last.”

Bow your head, pinch out your candle, quell your incense, smile at your beloveds. Your memento mori ritual is complete.

To kick start a deeper relationship with the spirit world, petition St Nicholas: you will soon be crowdsurfing on the happy shoulders of your allies in the otherworld.


A small white porcelain horse figurine stands on a wooden surface. The horse is captured as it rears up on its hind legs.

White Horses

I want to write “It was the first time that I truly followed my intuition” although of course that is not true.

But I do think it was the first time that I consciously decided to just follow a pull without questioning ‘why’ too much, or doing lots of research, or endlessly talking myself into and out of the decision.

I think it was following a breadcrumb dropped by @candicebrathwaite that led me to andcrystals and to order a crystal reading.

Reviewing Katie-Jane’s document again today, it piques my curiosity to wonder how - or if - a reading today would differ.

One of the lines she wrote was this: “[in a past life] you had a beautiful connection to horses, you visited them and received healing from them. A white horse strongly comes up as one of your animal guides protecting your heart. The white horse symbolises freedom, strength and courage.”

The whole reading was very moving. I immediately started to use blue lace agate on my throat when I felt I was choking (frequently) and a few days after I received the reading I also found this little white horse figurine in a thrift shop in Canterbury, for sale for just a few pounds.

He has stood on my bedside table ever since. And, ever since, when I am desperate for a sign from the universe, a white horse appears.

Just a few weeks ago, as I drove on a tedious errand, my ego was chattering away to me that ‘a white horse is not a good sign, it’s too rare to see a white horse, I need something commoner, a butterfly or a feather or something.’

And as I crested the hill a field appeared on my right with not one, not two, but at least five maybe seven white horses peacefully grazing in the sun.

Or the dog walk last week, after a particularly wobbly morning, where I actively strode out searching for signs - and this beauty appeared to lead me into the woods.

A white horses, photographed from a distance, being ridden along the edge of a field with trees in the background
White horses

A traditional Anima Sola image on a small picture stand, with a shot glass of clean water and a lit tea light candle in front of it.

Memento Mori

Memento mori. Or, remember: you will die. Possibly today.

The idea, central to Socratic philosophy has been practiced for centuries and is currently espoused by celebrated modern thinkers.

And as an happy aside, it obviously combines effortlessly easy with ancestor worship; getting dead relatives on side powerfully supports magical growth.

Currently, this anima sola receives my morning ritual. Soon after my feet touch the floor as I rise from sleep, and certainly before a drop of liquid passes my own lips, I offer refreshment - cold, clean water - to the dead.

To my grandparents and great grandparents, uncles and cousin, dear friends who have passed, and the ancestors I never knew. I remember them, and ask them to remember and look favourably upon me.

To the dead whose bones we walk upon as we move about our life. I remember them.

To those long dead souls with none left to remember them. Their fate belongs to us all. I remember them.

To death itself - be a friend, walk with me, help me to die (release) every day and be fully present in this beautiful, miraculous incarnation, in every interaction with the people I love and the activities I engage in.

The morbid tone certainly appeals to the nineteen year old goth in me, but the practice also brings clarity, focus and motivation to live every day as if it were our last, through the profound question:

If this day were my last, what would matter?


Magical Consciousness: a primer

I’m keen to write about miracle farming, but first it is important to speak about magical consciousness.

You have heard, I expect, of the reticular activation system. Personally I have been lectured on the subject by uninspiring business coaches of various stripe, the most usual example given, being: we purchase a particular model of car, and suddenly we notice the same model wherever you go.

The lesson being: whatever you prime your mind to be alert to, you will be alert to. Imagine!

This is deeply and undeniably dull.

However!

We can also apply the reticular activation system to joyful synchronicities, hilarious plot twists and enlightening messages from unexpected sources (including animals and inanimate objects), which is altogether a far more compelling proposition.

(Those of us with prior experience of psychedelics and/or mania will be at a positive advantage, but I have every confidence that it is within the grasp of everyone with an imagination.)

Here is an introductory exercise. Go for a walk, today if you can, with no destination or purpose in mind. As you walk, focus your mind on considering questions like: what is the meaning of that bright blue string, tangled in a fence?

What are those birds letting me know by flying in that formation? What does that snippet of a song, heard from a passing car, mean to me?

What are the Gods saying through those images in the clouds? What wisdom are the trees singing, in my direction?

Say: this a dream - I am the dreamer of this dream.

Allow your eyes to widen and your jaw to drop slightly at the incredible realism in this absurd hallucination where _everything_ is loaded with meaning, as you walk with loose, dreamy limbs towards yet more unexpected messages from every corner.

The more deep your sense of wonder, and the longer you can sustain it, the better.

Soon, your mind will start to present the messages, synchronicities and signs to you, instead of the sensible family cars it had mistakenly believed you were interested in.

Is it real magic if you’ve purposely generated it? Of course! Of course not! Either way, It doesn’t matter. The beauty is, you decide. Repeat this exercise as often as necessary.


A small skull carved from a piece of jet on a wooden surface, with a partial view of a candle holder in the shape of a pink lotus flower.

Loving Your Shadow

I had in mind to write a lovely essay for you on magical consciousness and the benefits of previous experience of psychedelics and/or manic states. But my office is already overheating and I must go and recline in a shaded hammock.
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Instead, I pose this question:
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What if ‘loving yourself’ meant actually *loving* all of those icky parts? Not loving yourself in spite of them - not loving yourself in order to ‘release’ them - but actually loving them;
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Loving your struggling business; loving your emotional instability, even the fear and despair; loving the nagging pain in your hip; loving your propensity for rage; loving your apparent inability to apply yourself to that nagging work task;
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Loving your inability to muster any motivation for housework; loving your daily frustration at the impossibility of juggling work and childcare over summer; loving your envy, greed and sloth;
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Loving and celebrating that darkest part of you that revels in difficulty, disappointment and struggle with no interest in the ease and grace that your ego constantly searches for.
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Does that feel impossible? Or very much within reach?
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Because I promise you that this is when magic happens.


A pearl necklace on a wooden dresser. Interspersed with the pearls are eight Howlite beads carved into tiny skulls. In the background is a small offering plate with a bright feather, another necklace strung with a white tooth, and a small white horse figurine.

Skulls & Pearls

Daily affirmations. (*groan*) I KNOW. Although it pains me to deploy such a hackneyed trope, I am also forced to admit it has been remarkably effective.

Five minutes three times a day is the goal. Twice a day is the reality.

I added these howlite skulls to a freshwater pearl necklace with a dual purpose; first, to add a little more shadow to the jewellery, and also to use like prayer beads, or a mala, to count off affirmations rather than resorting to an electronic timer to interrupt the mantra.

And of course I wear the necklace for client calls or any other time I wish to feel formidable in a Babayaga way. Because not only am I wearing a string of skulls around my neck, it has also absorbed those hundreds of recitations of the outcome towards which my work points.