Beltane Rituals for Every Element

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Written by  Lisa Stardust

Beltane is here! It’s May 1st, May Day, halfway between the spring equinox and summer solstice. It’s time to invite some friends over eat, drink, and be merry, embracing the beauty within and outside of ourselves as we celebrate the awakened, blooming flora and fauna of Earth. Originally celebrated as a Gaelic festival to protect cattle and encourage growth, Beltane is the light and beauty where we celebrate the sun and blossoms which perfume the air. In this May Day ritual, we are celebrating and giving back to the Earth, using all the elements (fire, earth, air, water) to ignite the hearth of Beltane. 

 
FIRE

Ideally, a bale fire is traditional merriment for the last night of April going into Beltane, May 1st. However, in this modern world, it may be impossible to have access to space which permits a bonfire. Consider using a small cauldron or candles. The colors of the earth, including red for passion, green for prosperity, purple for spirituality, yellow for happiness, white for harmony (or as a stand-in for any other colors. Red, green, and white are traditional Beltane colors. If you don’t have access to colored candles, you can use tea light candles. It’s ok to use the materials you have, remembering that the most important thing about magic is your intentions. 


Facing North, light the candles, evoking the goddesses you cherish and ancestors you admire as you go. Take a deep breath. As you inhale, close your eyes while the warm glow surrounds you. Amidst the warmth of the flames, envision a protective light surrounding, purifying, and stoking your own inner hearth. Open your eyes to the beauty of the flames burning. Let the heat serve as a shield against negativity, as you welcome in positive vibrations. 

EARTH 
Any urbanite can grab a fist full of fresh greenery and place it in a cauldron. Smelling fresh grass and flowers will bring life and abundance to any room. Honor their magical power and embrace the evergreen aroma. If possible, add some dandelions for positivity, hawthorn for fertility, and violets for protection. Try crossing twigs together with a red string to create a talisman that will also serve as a protective force against evil. When done using, recycle back to the universe by placing all remains outside to give back to Mother Earth. 

AIR
Make a wish for Beltane and release it to the air. Write down your desires on flying wish paper and let your desires travel on the wind. Through setting the intention and releasing your dream into the universe, you have the opportunity to plant valuable seeds of hope and creative renewal during these festivities. Giving prayers to the earth goddesses, pleases and inspires their support of your deepest desires to be manifested in the months to come. 

WATER 
Milk and honey is an offering made to Flora, Goddess of Flowers, to ensure vegetation blossoms in abundance during the Spring season. Added to baths, this mixture was notably used by the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra freshen up her soft, vibrant look and add beauty to her appearance. The mixture of milk and honey adds an element of fertility and sensuality to daily life. Rose petals infuse bathwater with feelings of self love and emotional healing. Use this combination for some bath magic to connect to the Earth Goddesses (such as Flora) and meditate. In this bath, be sure to take a moment of pause to connect to Flora’s lustful springtime earthy desires and evoke her spirit, as well as other water spirits like the river Goddess Oshun, who is also giver of love and fertility, and abundance, meditating on what you hope to grow. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Honey 
  • 1 Cup Salt 
  • Rose Petals 
  •  

Directions: 

  • Run warm bath water. 
  • Add milk, honey, and salt in a jar. 
  • Seal the jar and shake to mix ingredients together. 
  • Pour the mixture into bath.
  • Add rose petals to bath.
  • Lie back, relax, allowing your skin to absorb the 
  • Gently rub skin and soak in bath. 

Bitter Brew: Why The Hoodwitch Should Hex Starbucks

Written by Katherine de Vos Devine of Cauldron Arts Incubator

Starbucks recently introduced a “Crystal Ball Frappuccino,” presumably hoping for a sequel to its wildly successful Unicorn Frappuccino.

Here is Starbucks’ Crystal Ball Frappuccino Instagram post from March 22, 2018:

This Starbucks ad is clearly based on the distinctive images produced by Bri Luna, aka The Hoodwitch, for her web site, social media, and various collaborations.

Bri Luna is a distinctive witch. Her look, style, writing, and images do not fit popular stereotypes about what witches look like, what they wear, or how they act. Luna troubles the definition of “witch” and expands it to be more broadly inclusive. She’s intersectional and inspirational.

But Luna was not remunerated, consulted, or in any way involved in the production of the Starbucks ad. Understandably, Luna was pissed, as were her Instagram followers and fans.

Granted, most witchy imagery isn’t distinctive enough to merit this level of outrage. The stereotypical witch aesthetic is culturally pervasive – and thus ineligible for copyright protection – at this point in time. But black brujas with witchtips, a predilection for saturated colors, a penchant for glitter, and love of neon haven’t exactly reached critical mass on the internet or in the popular imagination. If Starbucks had gone with a black cloth, silver jewelry, and a milk-white hand, I’d probably be on their side

But they didn’t.

If I say “crystal ball,” you’re likely to think “witch” or “fortune teller.”

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If I say “witch,” you may think green skin, hooked nose, pointy hat, enjoys the company of flying monkeys.

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If born after 1975, pale skin, black-clad, silver jewelry, dark lipstick, and a scowl may come to mind.

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If you’re into millennial witchcraft, you may also think Free People, tarot apps, and palo santo perfume.

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You probably don’t think:

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or this: 

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It’s hard to call anything or anyone “original” in the twenty-first century, but Luna is one of the few people I laud with that accolade. Luna has greatly expanded what it means to be a witch. (So have lots of other witches, in lots of different ways, but that’s a different post.)

Yet, witchcraft remains a fairly small community, its internal aesthetic debates are not known to the broader public, and the singularity of Luna’s imagery is not likely to register with most Starbucks customers.

Thus, prospective Crystal Ball Frappuccino buyers aren’t likely to see the Starbucks ad above and think, “Hey, that looks like Bri!” They’re likely to think, “Oooo, that’s looks magical, fresh, colorful, sweet, and kind of badass.” But “magical, fresh, colorful, sweet, and [totally] badass” is Luna’s brand, her imagery, her vibe. And it’s highly distinct from other magical practitioners.

And that’s why Starbucks’ behavior sucks.

Ripping off an artist’s images to sell corporate coffee is poor form.

Riffing on witchcraft to sell corporate coffee is worthy of an eye roll, but this is not the first time that mysticism has unwittingly served capitalism.

Jacking an African-American-Mexican bruja’s photographs, concepts, and style, which have greatly changed how the witchcraft community sees its members, but are mostly unknown to the broader public…that’s a multi-pronged abuse I can’t dismiss.

Legally, it’s tough. Hypothetically, were Luna to sue Starbucks, a court would look at specific similarities between the Starbucks image and Luna’s images. There are plenty. Thus, most courts would consider “substantial similarity” and “total concept and feel” –  a doctrine developed for situations such as this one.

When considering total concept and feel, a judge is invited to consider both “intrinsic” and “extrinsic” elements.

“Extrinsic” elements are defined as “the type of artwork involved, the materials used, the subject matter, and the setting for the subject.” [Sid & Marty Krofft Television Productions, Inc. v. McDonald’s Corp., 970 F.2d 106 (9th Cir., 1977)] But…“Obviously, no principle can be stated as to when an imitator has gone beyond copying the ‘idea,’ and has borrowed its ‘expression.’ Decisions must therefore inevitably be ad hoc.” [Sid & Marty Krofft Television Productions, Inc. v. McDonald’s Corp., 970 F.2d 106 (9th Cir., 1977), citing Peter Pan Fabrics, Inc. v. Martin Weiner Corp., 274 F.2d 487, 489 (2 Cir. 1960)] Translating this legalese: things can get fuzzy.

“Intrinsic” elements concern the judgment of “an ordinary person” when the expression of the works are compared. The comments on Starbucks’ Instagram post are divided, and suggest that witches see too much similarity, while non-witches don’t see a problem. Thus, we’re left with a question: who is the ordinary person? Someone familiar with Luna’s imagery or someone who is not? (Get nerdy about the identity of the “ordinary person” with me in the comments – it’s definitely an open question.)

I’m sure another lawyer could argue that the elements in each image are so simple that “total concept and feel” doesn’t apply. Or that the ordinary person is a non-witchy type who wouldn’t see Luna’s imagery as distinctive. But I think the Starbucks image clearly bites Luna’s style, in a way that might rise to the level of infringement. (And, before you ask, fair use absolutely does not apply here, as the Starbucks image has no purpose consistent with fair use.)

As you can see, the legal answer is a bit messy. But, ethically, it’s pretty straightforward.

Starbucks, a multinational corporation, decided to mimic imagery from an independent artist who belongs to numerous minority groups – African-American, Latina, witch – and seemed to think she wouldn’t fight back, that her fans wouldn’t notice, and that consumers wouldn’t care. (Given my interactions on Instagram, 1 out of 3 of my assumptions seem to be correct: Becky just wants her Frappuccino.) This is an abuse of power and this is wrong.

Starbucks most likely paid someone to source and create imagery for the ad. If they liked Luna’s work so much, they should have asked her to direct the project, take the photographs, or style the ad. At minimum, Starbucks should have credited Luna as the inspiration for the Instagram spot. And it’s all much worse because Luna actually lives in Seattle and has a robust online presence. She isn’t hard to find.

Finally, Starbucks posted the ad to Instagram, one of Luna’s primary modes of interaction, with no credit. Even a nod – “Inspired by @thehoodwitch” – would have gone a long way towards mollifying Luna’s fans (if not Luna herself). However, they would never do this, because it could weaken Starbucks’ position should Luna sue them for infringement. Which, frankly, should make you more suspicious than anything I’ve said so far.

As I’ve discussed before, there is aware appropriation and there is sterile appropriation. (The terms are Jaron Lanier’s and if you haven’t read his book, go do that right now.) Aware appropriation uses pre-existing material in ways that enliven the images or information, creating a new lens for the viewer or reader. It takes thought, feeling, and effort to be an aware appropriator. Sterile appropriation, on the other hand, repurposes pre-existing material in ways that are flat, serve only the appropriator, and have no intelligent effect on the audience’s engagement with the pre-existing material. Corporations almost always engage in sterile appropriation, but with a modicum of effort, entities like Starbucks can use their colossal influence in more positive ways.

It starts, as you might imagine, with crediting – and paying – artists like Bri Luna.

 


MUSIC TO CAST LOVE SPELLS BY VOL.2

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Music To Cast Love Spells By

A sensual and seductive playlist curated for The Hoodwitch by Alia Mohamed to get you in the mood for casting love spells, or to simply indulge yourself in a romantic evening of self-care rituals. Whatever your plans are this Valentine's Day, these tracks are sure to get you in the mood for some love and enchantment!  

TRACKLIST:

Nancy Holloway - Sand and Rain
Norman Connors - Butterfly Dreams
Patrice Rushen - Where There Is Love
Minnie Riperton - Every Time He Comes Around
Flowers - For Real
Intimate Strangers - Love Sounds
Dorothy Ashby - Alone Together
Gene Rains And His Group - Tangi Tahiti
Julie London with The Spencer-Hagen Orchestra - Dark
Sonny Lester - Jasmine
Dom Boga - Mattino de Fuoco
Googoosh - Gahi Khandeh Gahi Geryeh
Bhairvi - The Panthers
The Roger Webb Sound - Moon Bird
Bobby Bland - I'll Take Care of You
Vagif Mustafa Zadeh - Gelmedi
Sun Ra - Love Is For Always
Piero Umiliani - Approdo Lunare
Mica Levi - Love

 

 


THE HOODWITCH: WITCHTIPS & HOROSCOPES 1.24-30.2018

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Written by Jessica Lanyadoo

Witch Tips

Strap yourselves in, Puppies, this week is gonna be quite a ride! It kicks off with an exact conjunction from Mercury to trans-formative Pluto on the 24th through the 25th. This transit intensifies (Pluto) the tempo of your thinking (Mercury). Mercury rules over your thoughts, communication in general, your friendships and work relationships. Your thoughts are likely to be deep, intense, and compulsive, which is great if you have to do a research project or some other task that requires serious concentration, but it’s pretty rough if you’re just trolling social media or dealing with the complexities of other people. What you say now is important because you run the risk of speaking out of pettiness, but once it’s out there, you can’t take it back. If you have a serious need to defend yourself, get to it, but chose your battles wisely. Your petty parts want blame, but your soul wants peace, and that never comes from acting out. This can be a transformational time, but you need to be willing to sit with the intensity of your mind. Watch your compulsions run themselves ragged without trying to convert them into wisdom by justifying their presence.

 

From the 24th-26th, Mercury will form a dynamic sextile to foot-in-the-mouth Jupiter. The upside of this is that it will help you to make connections and see the whole picture. These are the days for making sense of what happened during that Pluto/Mercury transit. The downside is that it can extend the impulse to cyber stalk, compare your progress to others, view things from an all or nothing lens, and jump to conclusions. The key here is to seek the truth but not just your truth. We all exist in our own reality, each with our own point of view. Make space for all of it so that you can objectively decide what you’re wiling to work with and what’s out of alignment for you. When all you do is focus on what others are or aren’t doing, you’re evading your responsibility to yourself. Everyone makes mistakes. If you make a habit of calling people out and don’t also spread love and appreciation around, you’re participating in the worst of call-out culture. It takes takes less spiritual energy to applaud than it does to boo; comes from the well of your soul, so chose your actions with care.

 

Finally, from the 26th-28th, Mercury will form a square to reactive Uranus. If you haven’t been doing your homework all week, you’re likely to fly off the handle or make rash judgment calls. This is a time for new information being revealed but not so much for making sense of it. Expect to feel dogmatic, restless and nervous, or to deal with someone else who's acting from that place. This energy is likely to make you accident prone because it’s reactive and distractible. This energy is inventive, dynamic, and progressive too – as long as you can stay present without attachments to what happens next. We are at the precipice of a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse on the 31st, so you can expect emotions to be running high, making the goal of patience and presence a hard one to achieve. Here’s a Pro Tip for this week as a whole: instead of seeking the cracks, seek the light pouring through them. Letting go of what doesn’t serve you is an act of self-healing. Forgiveness will set you free, and we all need to get free of our own b$llsh$t so we can do what we came here to do.

 

 

ARIES

March 21-April 19

Peace isn’t a single point of perfection; it’s a state of mind. If you can make subtle adjustments that allow you to flow with your situation without losing your center, you can maintain inner calm, even in stressful situations. It’s when you allow other people or situations to determine your wellness that you lose track of what’s real and what’s of value to you. Don’t figure out what to do before you figure out what your truth is this week, my love.

 

­TAURUS

April 20-May 20

There’s never enough to make you feel safe if you’re fixated on what you don’t have. What you chose to believe in will either bolster or negate your sense of self this week. Do your very best to see the potential in your limitations, the lessons in your failures, and the joy in the little things. This isn’t so that you’ll magically no longer have problems but so that you’ll have the inner resources you need to deal with them gracefully. You’ve got this, Taurus.

 

GEMINI

May 21-June 21

Stay here in the present, Twin Star. You run the risk of losing precious energy by obsessing on things past or trying to figure out what others are thinking or feeling. You don’t need a psychic – just ask people questions! You don’t need to time travel – just let go of what happened in the past. Take control of this moment by focusing your attention on what you can improve, my love.

 

CANCER

June 22-July 22

Be careful what you say, Moonchild, because once it’s out there, you can’t take it back. There’s a lot of tension in your relationships, and while it would be easy to assume the worst of others, it’s not wise. Give the same grace and compassion to others when they make mistakes as you wish to receive, but you shouldn’t lie down and take poor behavior, either. Take the time you need to decide which of your feels to respond from and which are better suited for your Dear Diary.

 

LEO

July 23-Aug. 22

You set the wheels in motion some time ago, and now it’s time to reap some of what you’ve sewn, Leo. This is an excellent time to get grounded by first getting present, and then from that place, review the past several months. You’re likely to now be feeling the consequences of what you initiated in the past four or so months, so look back to that time to see what was going on. You can’t change the past, but you can shift your attitudes towards it and let it inform your understanding of what’s happening now.

 

VIRGO

Aug. 23-Sept. 22

If you make decisions in a moment of panic, you’re going to be acting from a shaky foundation. You don’t have to take on anything new, my love, and if you do, you can have boundaries with how you do it. It’s important that you give yourself permission to focus on the things that bring you life instead of only things that make you feel like you’re proving yourself. It’s not enough to just get there, Virgo. Get there full and whole as well.

 

LIBRA

Sept. 23-Oct. 22

Placating people is fine in the short term, but if you want true intimacy, you’ve got to be honest, Libra. Show up as your full self this week, even if that makes things more complicated. It’s time to figure out the art of having hard conversations; this will require you to have kindness for yourself and others in equal parts and to treat people with the trust that they’ve earned. If you don’t know what to say, you’re always entitled to say just that. Try your best, my love.

 

SCORPIO

Oct. 23-Nov. 21

You can shake in your booties, or you can get to work. Once you determine what the problem is, it’s time to get practical, Scorpio. What actions can you take to best support yourself when you get stressed? What expectations are you holding that get in the way of allowing something greater to flow into your life? This is your life, your road to travel; don’t let your fears and projections compel you to miss out on all the beauty along the way.

 

SAGITTARIUS

Nov. 22-Dec. 21

Things are changing, and it’s unclear what you want from it all. Instead of jumping to conclusions as a way to take shortcuts, try slowing it down, Sagittarius. This week you’re likely to have things revealed to you in pieces; try not to make any heavy commitments or sweeping judgments quite yet. Tune into your heart, and make sure that what you’re doing is in alignment with what you find there.

 

CAPRICORN

Dec. 22-Jan. 19

Where you allow your attention to go is what you’re feeding, Capricorn. You can do your best and even be the best, and that doesn’t mean that you’ll get what you want. In truth, you may not even want the right things. If you choose to pour your heart into your disappointments, they will grow before your very eyes. The trick this week is to seek the opportunities in your troubles and to manage your pessimistic thinking with gentle but persistent TLC.

 

 

AQUARIUS

Jan. 20-Feb. 18

I’ll let you in on a little secret: gratitude is an anxiety buster. You can make your worst fears come true if you persist in looking for them. The trick is to commit to seeking at least as much good as you seek bad in the world, Aquarius. You don’t need to be a Pollyanna; just try to find a balanced approach to the truth. You stand to gain far more by allowing yourself to celebrate your successes and those of the people around you than by disparaging yourself or anyone else.

 

 

PISCES

Feb. 19-March 20

When people are weird to you or awkward around you, it’s tempting to take it personally – but it’s only personal some of the time. This week, it’s a bad idea to take things at face value because everyone is going through it. the good news is that it’s an excellent time to practice embodying the emotional boundaries that you’ve been working so hard to perfect! You don’t have to be perfect, but when you feel off, try naming it and watching it instead of shrinking or advancing in self-defense, my love.

 


The Power Of The Witch

 

I am my sisters keeper. 
The witch, bruja, healer, mother, sister, daughter, lover, artist, creative, bitch, wild woman,visionary, goddess. Transcendent of time and space. Reclaiming power, and ancestral blood lines of magick from the heavens and the Earth. I come from dirt and blood, jewels and bones. moon and sun. I am my grandmothers secrets, hopes, and dreams. I adorn myself in light and shadows. But do not mistake my flesh nor my worldly appearance for vanity, for everything I do is deliberate, I walk in gratitude for the ones who’ve come before me. My vessel is ancient, this skin remembers being birthed through the cosmos and rising out of the depths of the sea. Do not mistake her softness, vulnerability, sensitivity, compassion, love, resilience or silence for weakness. I am birthed of fire and lava of death and decay. A huntress a warrior, not worrier. I am my sisters keeper,

-B. Luna

 

Do you remember who you are? Have you lost your way? Do you remember your power? Should I remind you? Do you remember that you ARE the only magick you need? 
Don’t allow anyone else to define YOU or your magick and how YOU choose to present it in this world. YOUR magick it is what the f*ck you say it is. Not everyone is going to believe like you, practice like you, and that’s why it’s a personal JOURNEY. Personal. Meaning no one else is living it but you. 


We each embody unique skills with abilities to hurt or heal. Choose healing, lay down the heavy burdens, breathe. Love and be loved. Be the bruja, witch, healer, magician, Oracle, priest/priestess or mentor that you want to see in this world. Less hate, more understanding. 
Everybody got some magick in ‘em use your energy, time, and power wisely.