The Witch Wave Podcast Features Bri Luna of The Hoodwitch

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 Are you ready to ride the wave of the witch? of course you are!

Our lovely friend Pam Grossman just launched her AMAZING new podcast today, The Witch Wave! and while in New York, I had the pleasure  to visit Pam in Brooklyn to  discuss modern witchery, art, beauty, and everything else in between.  We've shared the very first episode (above) give it a listen +  add some magic to your day! 

 

For more information check out The Witch Wave

 

 


SCORPIO RISING: AN INTERVIEW WITH MERCURY HOUR

Meet Scarlett C. Dancer the empowering jewelry designer behind indie jewelry brand Mercury Hour,  a magical line of talismans designed to  invoke the power of the scorpion. In our interview, Scarlett discuses her journey from domestic abuse survivor to becoming a  courageous business owner giving back one piece of jewelry at a time.  


Material Girl, Mystical World: An Interview With Ruby Warrington

Meet Ruby Warrington, the lovely British fashion journalist and cosmic force behind the majestic online community The Numinous. In this interview with The Hoodwitch,Ruby shares her inspirations behind creating her comprehensive new guide book to The "Now Age".

 

Hi Ruby, first and foremost congratulations on your new book! Can you share with our readers what was your biggest motivation behind creating your new book?

Since I launched my site The Numinous in 2013, I've been on a mission—like you Bri!—to make the mystical arts seems more accessible and relevant, and this book has been a big part of that. But while writing it, I came to be aware of a much deeper thread running through this whole movement. Namely that engaging with esoteric practices and connecting to ourselves as spiritual beings is an essential (if not THE essential!) part of waking up to the role each and every of us has to play in the future thriving of humanity. So y'know, it gets pretty deep!
 

 "Material Girl, Mystical World"is an interesting title some might ask why it isn't the other way around "mystical girl, material word"? How did you come up with this title for your book? What does "the NOW age" mean for you?

The title has been the tag-line for my site since it launched, and I came up with it floating in the sea in Croatia back in like 2011. "Material Girl" speaks to my background as a fashion journalist in London ... my adventures in the "Numiverse" my journey into the "Mystical World." It actually works both ways. I am as mystical as I am material, as is the world we live in. For me, being on the "spiritual path" is about acknowledging this and integrating the mystical and the material in everything we do.

As for the Now Age, I coined this term for two reasons: Firstly, it's an update of the 1960s "new age", which was a reference to the astrological Age of Aquarius (like the song, remember?) which the Earth and all of us began transitioning into during the last century. We're now fully living in the Age of Aquarius—and so the "new" age is ... "now"! The hallmarks of this astrological era are the rapid development of technology, the spreading of information among the masses, and the toppling of hierarchical structures—all of which we are also seeing come to pass, and which mean we live in an unprecedented age of instant gratification. Thanks to the Internet we can access anything and everything NOW—which can be as overwhelming as it is amazing!
 

What are the top 5 books you'd say changed your life? Who are some of your favorite authors?


In my conclusion I write how "this book changed my life"—since walking the walk and doing my research for Material Girl, Mystical world has transformed me, inside and out. My health, relationships, the way I view my work, my spirituality, my relationship to myself. Everything! I reference Brené Brown's Daring Greatly several times in my book, but I don't read a lot of self-help. I prefer the escapism and emotional stimulus of fiction. Some of my favorite writers overall would be: Donna Tartt, Elizabeth Gilbert, JT LeRoy, Lionel Shriver, and Bret Easton Ellis. And I recently devoured Cat Marnell's How To Murder Your Life (she's a total Numi girl in training!).

 

What are some of your daily rituals that you utilized to help  stay inspired and creative during the long and often tedious process of writing your book? Did you work with any crystals or tools (I.e tarot, astrology) to keep you focused and/or to gain a clearer insight into specific blocks/challenges  and how to overcome them?


On a practical level, I put a ban on email + social media before 11am and after 9pm. I write best in the morning when my head is still half in the spirit world, so I needed to keep this channel clear and to also make sure I was getting super deep, like almost orgasmic, sleep. I doubled down on my yoga + meditation practice for the same reasons. As for more esoteric practices, researching the book involved throwing myself headfirst into it ALL, and these experienced not only shaped the text, but me as I was writing it! It was a very holistic experience in this respect.
 

Finally, This book seems like an immense labor of love and I know there are many people who are tapping into their power and really just don't know where to begin in materializing their dreams into reality. What are some words of wisdom that you would like to share with our readers on how to  mindfully manifest their goals ?  


Bri, thank you for seeing this! It's a total cliche to describe this as my "book baby" but it contains so much of myself that it feels like my flesh and blood. As for awakening to and activating your own personal power, my chapter on Dharma is all about this. But first, KNOW YOURSELF. Meaning, identify what makes you feel the most alive, and what you need to be able to do it. Astrology is my preferred tool for this. Then you must cultivate CONVICTION and PERSISTENCE (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual). Yoga + meditation will help, as will any healing practices that help develop spiritual resilience. Stepping into our personal power often means going against the conditioning of our upbringing and of society at large, and this can take some serious muscle. But not only is it worth it, the world and our Mother Earth needs us to step up now more than ever.

 

Do you have any new events or special projects that we should know about?


Moon Club is an online spiritual mentoring program that I run with my Numinous contributor Alexandra Roxo—a global community of people all committed to learning more about our place in the cosmos, using this to facilitate the above, and supporting each other through it. We're got retreats coming up in NY and Croatia that are also open to non-members, and I am so excited to have these opportunities to bring all the teachings of Material Girl, Mystical World to life!!


Love Notes From The Universe: An Interview With Diego "Yung Pueblo" Perez

 

There are few Instagram accounts that speak directly to our souls with daily insight and often timely Universal words of wisdom. Diego Perez also known as “Yung Pueblo” has one of them. Diego offers beautiful short poems and messages that feel as if they were left behind for you via sticky note by a divine guardian angel.  Diego is a thought provoker, wordsmith, and a conduit of such positive energy that just radiates from his work! We are  thrilled that he just so happens to have a book coming out later this year. In this interview we will discuss life, spirit, and the power of social media.

 

THW: Hi Diego, Can you tell our readers a bit about the man behind their favorite motivational memes?

YP: Well, I currently live in NYC, I am 29 years old, I was originally born in Guayaquil Ecuador. I write under the name Yung Pueblo for two reasons, one because Pueblo is a word used in Guayaquil in reference to the masses of economically impoverished people, so it always reminds me of my roots and where I come from, two Yung Pueblo literally means young people which always reminds me of something that I believe deeply, which is that humanity as a whole is very young, we have a lot of growing up to do, we are collectively still learning how to be kind to one another, how to clean up after ourselves, how to share, and how to not fight one another – things that I am hoping we will learn how to do well in the next 100 years.

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THW: What inspired you to start writing these extremely powerful messages on instagram? Did you use any other media platforms prior to this? How has this changed your writing style, if at all.

 

YP: I started organizing and being a part of the activist world back when I was 15 years old, ever since then I was always obsessed with the idea of liberation, I wanted to know what it meant, how to attain it, and how to maintain it. From nonprofit organizing to radical organizing, I have worked with a few different groups over the years and often we were successful, but still something was missing, greed continued to drive global harm and internally I was still rife with misery, this made me keep searching. When I was 24 I did my first 10 day Vipassana mediation course which shook the foundations of everything I believed in, my experience meditating showed me that liberation needs to be internally realized to a certain extent before we can recreate the world into a place where we can all live materially well without harming one another to do so; it showed me that everyone needs to be liberated, the oppressed and the oppressors. It taught me three particularly important lessons, one is that when we harm another we harm ourselves, that when we heal ourselves we are actually healing the world, and that the chaos in our world stems from the internal chaos and misery that human beings are quietly experiencing inside of themselves every day. We are all in need of healing and that healing can only come from our own efforts, because no one can liberate us but ourselves. Moving forward I continued meditating and organizing simultaneously, and then one day my intuition clearly told me to share what I understand in the form of writing, that even though what I understand may change overtime I need to share it now so that people know that it is possible to come out of misery and deeply heal themselves, because it is the transformation of the individual that holds the secrets to truly transforming the world into something better. I took a break from organizing to focus on writing and pretty quickly I noticed that Instagram was a good fit. I started off by writing short pieces and essays or just simple thoughts as captions under the pictures I would share, but then I saw that I would be better off just taking the main ideas of what I wanted to share and placing them in a clean and readable image, that’s when it all really took off and the words started spreading widely. My writing style is definitely still evolving.

 

THW: I’ve read that you are currently working on a book, can you share with our readers what it’s about and when we can expect it’s release?

YP: The book is entitled “Inward” and it will be a compilation of my best work over the past 3 years. It will be a mixture of poems, quotes, and essays. I’m currently putting it all together and hope to have it out this year, I don’t want to say exactly when, but it will be out soon. It’s been quite a journey putting this together.

 

THW: What books are you currently reading? Can you share a few titles that have inspired/changed your life?

 

YP: I love books so much, thank you for asking, I’m going to go in on this question if you don’t mind. Right now I am currently reading “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” by Yuval Noah Harari and “Demanding the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work” by Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams.

 

Some titles that have profoundly inspired me are:

“Assata: An Autobiography” by Assata Shakur

“What Buddhism is” by Sayagyi U Ba Khin

“Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny” by Robert Wright

“Hua Hu Ching: The Unknown Teaching of Lao Tzu” translated by Brian Walker

“Great Disciples of the Buddha” edited by Bhikkhu Bodhi

“Krishnamurti to Himself” by Jiddu Krishnmurti

“The Dhammapada” translated by Ananda Maitreya & Rose Kramer

“The Bhagavad Gita” translated by Eknath Easwaran

“Autobiography of a Yogi” by Paramahansa Yogananda

“The Dispossessed” by Ursula K. Le Guin

“On Disobedience” by Erich Fromm

“The Rebirth of History” by Alain Badiou

“Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse

I know that’s a lot of titles, but they all really had a deep impact in how I understand myself and the world.

 

THW: Who/What inspires YOU?

YP: Two ideas really drive my inspiration, one is the possibility of complete freedom from misery as an individual and the second is humanity coming together to recreate the world into the beautiful and loving place that it can be.

The stories and teachings of Gautama the Buddha and his disciples, teachers in my Vipassana meditation tradition like Ledi Sayadaw,  Sayagyi U Ba Khin, and S.N. Goenka, all really inspire me too. My family and friends really inspire me to work hard and be better as well.

 

THW: What do you hope to accomplish with your messages?

YP: I hope people understand that they can truly heal themselves of their inner burdens and actually build inner peace, that this isn’t something mythical or impossible, that this is real and that many people are doing it all around the world right now using different healing techniques. It is not easy, but it is definitely the most rewarding journey that we can embark on.

More so, I want to help people understand that growing their happiness, building their inner peace, and reclaiming their power are all essential things that not only heal humanity as a whole, but will ultimately help us establish a more peaceful and harmless world. Your inner peace will literally become the foundation for a future global peace. Healing ourselves will not only help us live with less misery, but it will give us a new clarity that we can use to transform the world.

 

THW: Social media can be a pretty awful place when it comes to plagiarism for writers, especially when sharing your meme-style motivational messages.. How do you tolerate seeing your work copied or stolen and not credited?

 

YP: It’s a great lesson, I do my best to not worry about it. If I’m too attached to it, it will just continue happening. Some people definitely take my name out from under pieces and then post them on their pages, but what good will it do me to be upset over it? Plus, I doubt that most people have any malicious intention when they do it. Gratefully, the vast majority do give me credit for the work I put out by linking my Instagram page underneath in the caption and tagging me in the picture, I certainly appreciate that.

 

What matters most is that the message gets out there. If you really think about it, “I” doesn’t exist, so is it really “my” work? Often, when I write, it more so feels like the message is coming through me as opposed to from me. I think plagiarism and copyright laws are a bit odd, no one has ever created anything completely by themselves, we are always building on each other’s work, it is all really a collective effort. Also, since words are just interpretations of how we feel, two people can write similar words but the feeling, meaning, and experience behind them can be completely different. I’m not saying that we should all go and plagiarize, we should try our best to create our own work and credit each other, but if it does happen accidentally we shouldn’t lose our peace over it.

 

 THW: What are some of words of wisdom that you would share with our readers on how to cultivate more mindfulness in their daily lives?

 

YP: Mindfulness is essentially being aware of the present moment, which is critically important in for our personal development. But what matters is how will you be aware of the present moment, what tool will you use to increase your awareness?

My advice to people is to find a healing technique that gives you real results, one that challenges you, but does not overwhelm you. There is a great variety of techniques out there, different types of meditations, yoga practices, energy healing techniques, and so much more that can really give us tangible benefits in our lives. What matters is that we find one that suits us and that we use it consistently.

 

THW:  Do you have any other projects that you’re currently working on that you’d like to share with our readers?

 

YP: I’m planning an event in Los Angeles this summer, which I’m really excited about, the details will be set soon. I will be reading a piece of my manuscript and giving a talk about the patterns in our subconscious that impact our behavior. I did a similar event this past March in NYC at the Alchemist’s Kitchen, so many people came out that we filled the venue, it was really a great time.

I’m currently working on a video with one of the best directors and videographers in NYC, Lindsey TJ Hall, you can find him on Instagram under @guynamedlindsey. We knew that the message was getting out to people who read, but we wanted to make something new to try and reach people who are more musically and visually inclined. The video will be about self love and its growth into unconditional love, it should be out sometime this summer.

Read more of Diego's Work by following him on instagram @Yung_Pueblo


From Teen Witch to Techno-shaman: An Interview with Tina Hyland

 Photo by TheHoodwitch.com

Photo by TheHoodwitch.com

Written by Yesenia Padilla

Tina Hyland is a brilliant poet, published in The Best American Experimental Writing 2015, among other publications and journals, as well as a masterful performer. Tina’s command of her audience while she performs is skilled and nuanced; she is graceful and astute, engaging listeners at every turn, making each of her performances a uniquely powerful experience. And, on top of all of that, Tina is a skilled witch, incorporating her extensive knowledge of magical practice into her academic work as a Master of Fine Arts candidate at University of California, San Diego (more on that later). So, it almost goes without saying that the first time I met Tina Hyland, I was basically blown away by her presence. Fortunately, Tina is also extremely gracious and kind, and agreed to sit down for an interview about her art, her magical practice, and more. Enjoy!

 

Thanks so much for sitting down with us, Tina! Can you describe your introduction to your magical practice? Were there any experiences that you care to share that moved you toward your practice today?

I come from a generation raised on The Craft, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed, a whole lot of magic and witchy prime time moments. When I was 14, my first job was at a shoe store in a weird Florida mall. The manager, Debbie,was a 40-something solitary witch of the Scott Cunningham brand, and that was a huge deal to me. Witchcraft wasn’t just the stuff of television, movies or daydreams—it was something adults could take seriously, and something I could live and practice. At the same time, it was rebellious and needed to be hidden from my parents. Basically, perfect. Over time, I asked a lot of religious questions and soaked up her answers. I wanted to be Debbie, and I followed her magical lead from books to tarot decks to deities. She told me her cat was a familiar named Taboo, so I named my first cat Taboo, and I didn’t really know what that meant—I only knew that when she told me her cat’s name, she smiled like it was mischievous. That was enough for me.

Like a lot of young witches without covens, I had a marked up copy of Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner and a small fleet of Llewelyn titles. Llewellyn books make me feel nostalgic, like I should bust out some black lipstick and bad attitude, get back in touch with that mall witch teen vibe. I’ve never put it that way before, but I totally was a mall witch. My supplies and my knowledge came from malls and mall store managers, and that’s where I met other witches too. I would sit in the New Age section of a Barnes & Noble for hours, just waiting ’til someone cool was in the aisle. Before the internet was ubiquitous, everyone was a bit of a creepy lurker, I guess.
Aside from the tarot, most of that is in my past. I still reference a few of those Llewelyn books. Especially Cunningham’s encyclopedias of stones and herbs. I’m also powerfully attracted to a good rhyming couplet.  

Can you talk a little bit about your current practice? What traditions/experiences are you currently drawing from, what is the focus of your practice? What are some of your favorite tools within your practice now?

I’m a neophyte in the IOT, so currently, I work a lot with chaos magic. That means different things to different people, but for me, it’s a kind of ritual flexibility—a willingness to experiment outside my comfort zones and to create new magical and collaborative experiences with fellow chaos magicians. I have adopted, tried out and discarded a lot of magical paradigms and practices, and I’m very influenced by what other pact members are doing and thinking. It’s a lovely community, and I’m grateful to be a part of it.

As for my own practice, I’m interested in objects, the ways they are alive and interactive, and how I’m able to enter into conversation with them through magic. Lately, I’ve been collecting Victorian mourning jewelry. I’ve got buttons that were plaited with hair and taken from a moth-eaten dress. They feel like holy objects, full of love and care and grief. I’ve also got a locket with a beautiful woman’s image set across from a braided section of her hair. I’d like to be haunted by them. I’m thinking about ways to incite a haunting with these “objects” that are very alive to me, maybe visit with them in my dreams.

 Tina Hyland showcases her Victorian hair button. 

Tina Hyland showcases her Victorian hair button. 

 Tina's hands holding an antique locket.

Tina's hands holding an antique locket.

I do that often—find objects that speak to me and set up rituals around them. Recently, I was working a lot in sex magic, and I found a 2nd century Roman eyeliner tool. It’s bronze, with a swan sitting on top, just above a talisman to protect against the evil eye. Through that, I constructed an idea of who had owned it—I imagined she was a wealthy pagan prostitute. Pliny the Elder wrote that if you have too much sex, all of your eyelashes fall out. For that reason, prostitutes were very much about emphasizing the eye, as though the lushness of the eye correlated directly to the freshness of the vagina. Then there’s the swan, a symbol of Venus, goddess of whores, and the evil eye ward. Something about the owner’s beauty regimen was drawing in envy that she needed to deflect. Together, those facts built a beautiful Roman prostitute in my mind. So, I spent a night burning almonds and mixing them with oil to make my own kohl. Now, I apply that kohl with the eyeliner tool whenever I need to muster some serious sexual energy and allure.

Because of that tendency to find and honor objects, my favorite tools change pretty often. There are a few staples I’m always working with: tarot cards, stones, candles, herbs, high tech devices and the internet.

You're an academic (soon to be MFA - Congratulations! Next year, you’ll be a PhD Candidate in Literature), and a poet, and your magical work shows up quite a bit in your academic/literary work. How do these two seemingly-separate worlds play with one another? In what ways do they gel, and in what ways do they experience tension? How do you react to those areas of tension?

All of those things have become entangled for me. I can’t really imagine one practice without the others. A lot of the theory I read in a seminar space inspires me toward new conceptions of magic and practice and writing. Just as an example, right now I am thinking about an affect theory of magic, drawing mostly from Deleuze and Guattari, and Jane Bennett’s Vibrant Matter. For them everything is made of the same energetic material. The main difference between my body and a rock is that we are moving at different speeds and intensities, with different affects or ways of interacting in the world. I’m moving so fast, in my human speed, that I perceive the rock as inert. But it’s moving too, in geological time. We all have a series of tendencies, ways we act in the world and on each other; when things meet at the same speed and intensity, they can enter into an assemblage, or a temporary and unnatural union. Applying that kind of thinking to magic, Cunningham’s encyclopedia of stones and metals reads like as a list of affects particular to each stone. Clear quartz has a tendency to hold and direct energy, amethyst has a tendency toward sobriety, bloodstone tends toward healing, etc. If I want to enter into assemblage with a stone, so that the stone and I can truly interact and see how our affects blend, the magic ritual becomes a speed matching game. I am going to slow myself while the stone is excited. Taking that out of a speculative interaction with a stone and into common magical techniques, when you do group workings—maybe you’re all panting or chanting or drumming to enter a trance simultaneously—this can be seen as a way of matching speed and intensity to achieve a desired effect in the room or in the world.

So academic work easily moves into the magical, but the reverse—being a witch with witchy contributions in a seminar, that’s not always as smooth. For the most part, grad students are curious and kind people, and if you know what you’re talking about, they will listen and jot a few notes. But there are definitely times where I’ve gotten some eye rolls. Recently, I was in a great seminar with Page DuBois, whose book A Million and One Gods should be on every pagan’s required reading list. It was a course on New Materialism, which is a movement rethinking the roles and capacities of materials in the world. We were talking about objects that act—something that is a major part of any magical practice and especially dear to mine. I brought in a few Roman objects, like evil eye talismans and a fascinus—which is a little penis hung around the necks of children or soldiers to protect them—and passed them around the room, making a case for how in the Roman world, the gaze or a feeling of envy had real consequence, was a thing that could penetrate you, and to protect yourself, it was crucial to have an object that acted as concretely on the world as that gaze. Some people were into it, other people were like, oh my fucking god, this witch. But really though, New Materialism is the world of the witch, and it’s the academic who should enter it with the humility of a guest. Not the other way around. Academics can forget how often they are intellectually vacationing in the spaces where others have built a life. One of the great ironies of being both a writer and a future scholar of literature is seeing just how often PhD students think that MFA students are not as smart or as serious. It’s outrageous. We write the kinds of materials that students of literature devote their lives to studying. But some have an attitude. They seem to think writers are accidentally brilliant, and that it’s through analysis—or being selected for analysis—that our work is given meaning. As a writer, let me just say—the smart stuff I’m trying to put in my art, I’m trying to put it there on purpose, with intention, through thoughtful engagements with a lot of ideas and a carefully developed set of tools.

As for the art itself, that’s my preferred mode for communicating all of this stuff. And as an artist, I get away with a lot of shit other people don’t. I’m a cross-genre experimental writer—that gives me a license to be weird. People expect it. You could even say it’s my job to be weird. I might not be so willing to say, for example, that I’m in the IOT if I were a lawyer or a social worker, or some other profession where people have a very different set of expectations for how you should be in the world, which is why the secrecy of a secret society is so important. The only people I have to worry about insulting are my family, most of whom think I’m wild. And that’s just fine. I am fully committed to being the weird aunt who reads your tarot at the family reunion. Amor fati.

You're currently working on a Grimoire of Internet Spells; can you tell us a little bit about the project? What draws you to technology in your creative and magical practices, and in what ways do you think technology has changed magical practices as a whole?

My manuscript-in-progress is The Technoshaman’s Grimoire. It’s a cross-genre work: a sometimes practical and other times impractical manual for magic colliding with poetry, parable, speculative fiction, and tied together with an old internet aesthetic. If you’ve seen the cover of Donna Haraway’s Simians, Cyborgs, and Women—my project lives in that image. That woman’s voice is the one I’m listening to and attempting to translate. Imagine technoshamans working through social media and search engines. Then try to remember the forgotten corners of cyberspace, like StumbleUpon, LiveJournal, ASCII art galleries. Picture those places being squatted by witches and harvested for spell materials. That’s more or less my grimoire.

I can divide my life into two distinct parts: before and after the ubiquity of the internet. Right now, I am writing, talking, acting as a fully post-internet human: I am inflected by search engines and links, and some aspects of my life exist as much online as they do in the analog world. It wasn’t so long ago that I had a beeper, and when my mom sent me a 911, I knew I should find a payphone and jam a whole message into the collect call name prompt. Now, my mom texts me pictures of the birds at her feeder and is fluent in text abbreviations. I think that’s wild, how quickly and irrevocably the world has changed, and I’m not ready to give up that tension of being born between low and high tech worlds. My grimoire tries to act as a collision space for the pre- and post- internet, filled with updated versions of real or speculative ancient practices.

I also think it’s important to bend these internet technologies away from their intended use—as advertising and commercial platforms. In that, I’m inspired by Evan Calder Williams and his work on salvagepunk, and the artist Jesse Darling, who thinks a lot about the internet as something we produce by doing and living. A space is created and defined by how it is used, not by its intended use. I take a lot of branded websites in order to reconstruct their use and steal them away from their intended purposes.

It’s a bit of a gambit, really. Google, for instance, is an advertising platform that pretends to be universal information access. It would like us to think of it as a mere and humble tool that anyone can use for whatever purpose they see fit. So, a lot of my spells do that—they take the advertiser’s platform and force it to embody its mystifications through another kind of mystification, the spell. If the tools are indeed as open as Google would have us believe, then they can be put to uses other than googlebombing or mutually-destructive advertising wars. If a spell fails, or fails to become a legitimate use of the technology, then the ideological construction of the device fails with it. There’s something Evan Calder Williams said that stays with me as I work: “[T]o put the punk into salvage is to occupy it too well, not to stand outside the logic of the game, but to track it to its far horizons. There we see the frayed hems of a mode of thought.” And I hope my spells can do that, play Google’s own game so hard that we can see what it’s really made of.

And the ways we’ve already bent technology to serve radical communities is under attack. Like I said before, it would be incredibly weird to sit in the New Age aisle of a bookstore and hope to make a new friend. It’s weird because, of course, we are making those connections across social media. But when websites are deciding whether or not to release deleted posts so activists can be legally pursued and punished, I feel it is incredibly important for us to define and defend this practiced commons we have built. And I happen to think that turning the whole internet into a magical space is a fine way to go about that. While my manuscript can be read passively, as a work of weird literature, I also that people will try some of the spells.

One of my favorite spells I've seen you perform/cast (as magical work does contain a performative quality, I think, it's definitely one of the things that draws me to it, anyway) is your glamour spell.  The spell uses selfies, which have become a tool of empowerment for many of us in Gen Z/Millennials. Can you speak to the ways in which performing that spell can be empowering for you? 

 There are all these competing messages about how to have a body in the world.  You should love and be comfortable with yourself--but don’t love yourself too much, never be too comfortable. You should look in the mirror, but not too often or for too long and always with a purpose—to check and correct, to fix or fixate. So much of how we feel and deal with our bodies circulates around a panoptic sense of how we are seen by others, that we are seen by others. A selfie is a radical grab—it is taking control of your image and its curation and distribution. It’s deciding how you will appear, how often, and where. That’s powerful stuff. I don’t have to wait until someone tags me in an unflattering photo that I never saw coming, mouth full of half-chewed food and eyes closed in a blink. I can capture and present what I feel is my best self, with my own vision and full ownership of my image. When people complain about selfie narcissism, they are saying someone has strayed too far from that panoptic sense of what’s appropriate, that my image and its distribution belongs more to someone else than it does to me. I think that’s nonsense. I love selfies, and I love the sudden communities of care that spring up when a selfie is posted on social media.

My spell attempts to push what’s great about selfies a step further. It is as much about the process as it is the product, the selfie. I ask people to stare into their reflections, to gaze into their eyes. To really look at themselves as they meditate on how beautiful they are. And that’s different from the functional gesture of posing. It makes some people uncomfortable, to look at themselves with love and to pause there for a while, suspended in that moment. I think it’s important to rest in those moments of self-love, to give them time to really penetrate.

Speaking of power and performance, what are your favorite looks for when you're really feeling yourself, or feeling really powerful?

I’ve got different answers for the magical and the mundane. First of all, I think everyone should have a ritual robe. It doesn’t necessarily need to be the standard black hooded thing you might think of when you imagine a magician. What’s important is that you have a designated piece of comfortable clothing to help transport you from the mundane to an elsewhere. By putting it on, you are agreeing to leave your usual world for a bit, in a particular and intentional way. It is something for every closet, every life—like a textile transition or a soft escape hatch. Alternatives for the standard ritual robe could be your nude body after a decadent bath, an elegant nightgown that makes you feel royal, or a cozy bath robe and slippers after a warm cup of tea or cocoa. All of these things work very well.

When I’m feeling powerful in the mundane world, I’m definitely wearing makeup. I love to play with cosmetics. I’m also really into braided updos and how they can be used to signify both youth and something more matronly. I can braid that updo playful or severe, and sometimes I try to do both at once. In clothes, I usually wear dresses and skirts and am very into vintage looks. I like to combine contrary time periods, playing in a space between the anachronistic and the contemporary, which is kind of my whole vibe—visually, intellectually, creatively. That might look like 1960’s styled dress in a bold print with an ancient artifact as a pendant, some bright lavender lipstick and a turn of the 20th century braided updo . Like I’m unstuck in time. I really want to get unstuck in time.

What are some tips you'd like to share with our readers about developing their spellwork and magical practice?

Be creative. Know that every time you look at an established book of spells, you are looking at something someone created, and you have just as much ability to build your own practice and magical style. That said, explore a lot of existing practices, so you have some magical grammar and inspiration. If you find yourself stuck in particular dogma, it’s time to experiment, play, get weird. Also, if you can, find a group of people to work with, who are ready to listen and aid you and try things out. I could as easily say, “If you like masturbating, just wait til you try sex.” Because it’s a lot like that—solo vs. group work. Both are nice and both are necessary, if you’re really into experiencing what magic has to offer.

Tina shared a few of her spells for ourreaders and they can be found here:  SPELLS


Goddess OF The Week: Aeon Magdalena

Meet Our Featured Goddess Of The Week: Aeon Magdalena !

"Beinga Goddess is being able to recognize with one's self the things that are important, and then to strike the single note that brings them into alignment with everything else that exists. Then, beyond moral or logic or esthetics, one is wind or fire, the sea, the mountains, rain, the moon, the sun, or the stars, the flight of an arrow, the end of a day, the embrace of a lover. Those who look upon you then say, without even knowing your name she is fire, she is dance, she is destruction, she is love. You may not call yourself Goddess, everyone else does though, everyone who beholds you." - Author unknown

 

 


The Hoodwitch x Black Girl In Om

 photo by Michael Pierce

photo by Michael Pierce

Explore the voices, rituals, and divinity of Black Girl In Om's magical Issue 003: Spirituality. In this special issue Thehoodwitch.com 's founder Bri Luna discusses her personal journey, Goddess archetypes, energy clearing, and celebrating life by the cycles of the moon.

Read the full story HERE.