witch

guide to the rite of her sacred fires

Rohsf
{ last year's ritual }

 

Everything I learned about Hecate I have learned from my own research plus devotee Cyndi Brannen. Please be aware there are many many ways to conduct this, I am simply sharing how I was taught. I recommend reading through this entire post all the way to the end before you actually begin the ritual, just so you're aware of everything. Also, be sure to perform it on the night of the May Full Moon!

 

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{ brief intro to the goddess, my notes from the Keeping Her Keys book }

 

The purpose of The Rite of Her Sacred Fires is to claim your own fire, to ignite it within you. The ritual honors the goddess and activates the kinetic power of fire by connecting us to her Wheel of Fire, calling forth the power of her five sacred flames:

The Star Fire: the power of inspiration and mysticism
The Fire of Life: the spark of Anima Mundi (world soul) in all things
The Guiding Fire: Hecate’s torch that leads the way for our earthly journey
The Witch Fire: The unique essence of Hecate in her witches
The Fire of Destruction: the power of Hecate to destroy all things

List of what you will need:
Five candles (any type)
Mugwort (or thyme or sage)
Basil
Skullcap (in any form)
Pomegranate seeds

Before you begin, choose 3-4 aspects of Hecate that you want to work with during the ritual. This is to get her attention but also to truly narrow down what you need help with. Let each English interpretation guide you. Check out this link for a full list of aspects or epithets, or see below for her fire aspects of which you can choose. This year since the full moon will be in Scorpio, I am using Chthonia (Of the earth) as one aspect to counter the intense emotional energy that day.

Hekates-Fire-Epithets

Before you begin, check out the hand positions below. You will do them during the 6-part evocation section of the ritual. For one you will put your hands together (they will all be touching as in the picture) in the specific position and hold against your heart. For the others your hands will be in the same specific position but will either be pointing up (always the right hand) or down (always the left hand). All hand positions are cued within the ritual itself below.

Hand-positionss

Candles | Five candles will represent each of the five sacred flames. In the past, I have used Brannen’s method of creating a pentacle on a flat surface and placing each candle on each of its points (see the photo at the top of this post). Otherwise arrange them however you see fit. You can also take it a step further and carve Hecate’s name or each type of fire into each candle. Each candle will be lit by you during the ritual.

Hieros Pyr (Holy Fire) incense and ash | You will burn the mugwort, basil, and skullcap during the ritual. As it is burned it will create ash, which you will also use during the ritual. Note: You can burn incense in a charcoal disk to create the ash, or buy a bundle which you can find at any spiritual shop, and let a piece of it burn in a metal or ceramic bowl.

Holy Fire water | Drop 2-3 pinches of mugwort, basil, and skullcap (or several drops of skullcap if using liquid) in hot water. Let sit for 20-30 minutes. Then drop 113 grams of pomegranate seeds in, bring water to a boil. Let cool. Strain herbs but leave pomegranate seeds in water. Pour into any cup or mug you feel connected to.

The Ritual

To begin, always remember that the power is in you and no one is perfect. If you mess up just keep going, because nothing will stop Hecate if she wants to come through. Wash your hands to be clean and clear of anything physical or non left over from your day. Light the incense, and be sure it is close to you as you will need the ash it creates. Have the Holy Fire water close to you as well as you will need to sip it while you read different sections of the ritual.

1 Ground yourself. I get on the floor for this usually, I sit on my knees and then place myself down to the ground, my forehead touching the floor. I feel the earth and its roots coming up into me, then I go back down with them through each floor of my house and finally we get under the house and into the soil. I swim around in the soil for a while and feel how cold it is. Until I feel connected to the earth I do not get up.

2 Cast your circle. Since Hecate’s number is three, we do this 3x. Stand and face your unlit candles. Point your finger outward in front of you (if you don’t have a wand or anything specific). Turn clockwise and envision a white light appearing and surrounding you as you turn, until you face your candles again. Do this two more times.

3 Summon Hecate.
Hecate [first aspect you chose],
I call upon your energy on this night.
Hecate [second aspect],
Hecate [third aspect],
Hecate [fourth aspect or say Hieros Pyr],
Hecate Hieros Pyr [if you had a fourth aspect].
Bless this sacred space with your mighty presence,
Make available to me your energy on this night.

4 Recite the 6-part evocation. The below is from this article. It only lists 4 parts. The full evocation is available in the book Keeping Her Keys, in Lesson 6. You can purchase the Kindle version for quick access if you would like. Note: I know Hecate with a C, not a K (Hekate) and so I altered the way her name is spelled in the evocation. You will also notice I removed any "Hail" that was in there. Hail doesn't resonate with me and so I do not like saying it when I talk to her. To me it is how you resonate with her, so it is up to you how you would like to recite this. Remember the link to the original is here.

Part 1 – Evocation of Hecate’s Three Forms

(Hands together at heart center)

Hecate, Great Mother, I am grateful for Your presence in my life.
I implore You, attend this rite.
Hecate, who spins the web of the stars and governs the spiral of life.

I welcome you as Guardian, Queen of the Under World,
I welcome you as Guide of the Middle World,
I welcome you as Gatekeeper of the Mysteries.

Part 2: Evocation of the Energy Currents

Fierce Goddess, Attend your epithets!
I draw upon Your colors!

(Left hand down)
Black as night,

(Hands together at heart center)
Red as blood,

(Right hand to the sky)
White as stars.

(Hands together at heart center)

Lend me their energies,
I implore you, Mighty Queen!
I offer myself to You.
I bow before You,
Hear me, know my name.
(Bow your head, state your name).

Part 3: Evocation of the Three Forms

(Left hand down) Hecate

(Right hand up) Hecate

(Hands together at heart center) Hecate

I honor You as She of all forms.

(Left hand down)
I honor You as the Young Mistress,

And ask that You bestow upon this ritual the energy of youth.

(Hands at heart center)
I honor You as the Eternal Creatrix,

And ask that You send the power of creation to my working.

(Right hand up)
I honor You as the timeless World Soul,

And ask that You lend me your wisdom for this rite.

Part 4: Evocation of the Three Realms

(Left hand down) Hecate

(Right hand up) Hecate

(Hands together at heart center) Hecate

I honor you as She who rules over
The Under World, the Middle World and the Upper World.

(Left hand down)
I honor You as the Gatekeeper of All Under World and Goddess of the Daemon
May they strengthen my rite!

(Hands together at heart center)
I honor You as the Guardian of the Crossroads of the Middle World, the Universal Key Holder,
And seek Your guidance along my earth-bound journey.

(Right hand up)
I honor You as the Breath of the Universe and the Mother of Angels
Behold, I seek their assistance now!

(Left hand down) Hecate

(Right hand up) Hecate

(Hands together at heart center) Hecate.

5 Recite the story of Hecate’s Wheel of Fire. As you recite this, the red underlined words will cue you to light each candle. Five underlines for five candles. Read slowly and feel the fire rise in you as you recite each one.

Hekate-Wheel-of-Fire

5 Recite the ritual (credit). Sip the Holy Fire water throughout. I have marked in red when to anoint yourself with the ashes while you recite this. You can anoint any part of your body that you feel comfortable.

Hecate, I call upon you as the Hieros Pyr,
The Queen of the Sacred Fires,
Bestower of life,
Destroyer of lies.
You are the Wheel of Fire.
As the Star Fire,
You fuel the Upper World,
And the mysteries,
Grant me the power to see the structure of the universe,
To know the order and the chaos.
You are the Fire of the World,
Lend to me the flame of creation,
So that I can give life to all that I need to bring forth.
You are the guiding torch along my journey,
May I follow your path gladly.
Hail to thee as the source of the witch fire,
May I be ever strengthened by this flame.
And you are the fire of destruction.
Render me the wisdom to let go of that which must burn.
I summon the powers of your Hieros Pyr to me now.
I claim their powers by marking myself with ashes (anoint yourself),
And I bless this smoke, sending forth the power of your fires,
Hecate, Hieros Pyr!
I honor you on this night of your Sacred Fires!

6 Bid her farewell.
Hecate [first aspect you chose],
Hecate [second aspect],
Hecate [third aspect],
Hecate [fourth aspect or say Hieros Pyr],
Hecate Hieros Pyr [if fourth aspect],
Thankful am I for your presence, protection and blessings at this ritual.
I bid you farewell.

7 Open the circle. Stand again in front of your lit candles and point your finger outward, this time turning counterclockwise, while envisioning a white light disappearing as you turn, until you face your candles again. Do this two more times.

8 Ground yourself if needed.

If you have tarot cards, you can pull them now to reflect. I use a specific spread by Owl and Bones, and I drink the rest of the Holy Fire water throughout. When I am finished, I pour what is left in my cup outside, back into the earth.

Tarot-spread


rural horror project

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This all started with a deep separation occurring in the summer of this year. At that time I had some visions come to me about my family. The division I mentioned sort of set everything in motion and suddenly I was dreaming about a thigh tattoo (one I knew I would get eventually but never had the idea down pat). I know this sounds all over the place so bear with me. My tattoos so far are very thematic, with the top half of my arm symbolizing the universe, the bottom half the physical realm, and what came to me this summer was when I put my arm down at my side, my leg would be the underworld. So this thigh tattoo would be darker than the rest because that space symbolized something very deep for me. It went deep down the rabbit hole into the blackest part of me - my shadow side, which began to emerge during my adolescence through to my 20s. My brain then went back to lock down 2020 when I discovered the art of Karyn Ironsides. I ran through her entire Tumblr blog back then because her work is just so incredible. One in particular stuck out, shocking me, and it was like a light bulb went off, this would be my first thigh tattoo.

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The pins reminded me of everything I went through back when I was a young girl, how painful it was for me, and the way my mind wrapped around it and interpreted what I experienced. Looking at the pins was looking at what had become of it all. It was all captured in this one drawing and not only would I get it tattooed when I was done with the project but it would be the working centerpiece of the project as well. Because my shadow at its worst was so focused on suicide back then, I longed to convey this through photography. I had some old photos of Lana Del Rey that I wanted to copy so that was the plan. A lot of writing was also coming out of me, so I naturally decided both would be shared together when I posted everything on Instagram come October, like I did last year, folk horror series style. But I didn't want this to be a series, and I didn't want it to be exactly like last year. I just wanted it to stand on its own as a project and be what it was because it was its own monster. One that I had to face and deal with at that present time. [This also led to me developing themes I will use later for books consisting of my poetry and anything else I create that merges self-help with horror. Some of these themes include: horror endeavors-we take on and work through these endeavors of horror in order to survive and thrive. We face ourselves and our traumas to become better, to grow into who we truly are, and came here to be.]

Like I said I didn't want this to be a series, more like 4 powerful photos to go with 4 powerful pieces of writing, so just like last year some mild research on horror subgenres was in order to assist me in expressing myself. I also needed to enlist a friend's help - coincidentally I knew one who just happened to be foraying into photography as a passion at the same time. I explained all of my ideas to him and he was thrilled. The project then was officially born. In my research I discovered rural horror, a concept that has to do with horror that comes not from an intrusive outsider, but a location itself (a home for example). A home is no longer a home, when its natural environment transforms into a site for anxiety, uncertainty, and alienation. In this form it haunts us, undermines us, and diminishes us entirely. The horrors it holds are tied to ancient religion, generational curses, and ancestral scarring. This made me think so much about my roots and where I come from and how much it has taken for me to undo/unravel my own obstacles that stem from my family legacy. I knew part of this project would be about breaking generational patterns and spells. To do that one must first uncover them, they must be seen and exposed for what they really are, only then can they be alchemized. Back to Karyn's work above and how it all comes together - when I looked at this piece, I saw her looking at the pins saying, "look at what all of you have done, and now it is on/in me, now I am bad too, and how do I make it right." This was my interpretation of the artwork, and it would work in tandem - seamlessly - for this project.

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{me age 20-28}

Firstly I knew I was going to use my hair extensions since all of the writing and photos would reflect my younger years for the most part. Like I was saying I had old Lana photos that I wanted to copy, and my photographer friend was very on board with this. I also really appreciated that he basically was willing to travel anywhere and do anything to help make my visions come to life. These are some of the photos that inspired the shoot:

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Jumping off a cliff, drowning, being dead already, and then observing all the chaos of the past in an evolved way was the sequence that I wanted to use. Each scenario built into the next, and the order was similar to my timeline of evolution. Please don't think any of this was apparent at first conversation with my photographer, it definitely took me time to parse out this idea and all parts of it. But at the end it came together very beautifully in the synchronized way I just explained. I also noticed later as I was writing that I was incorporating all 4 parts of me that work in tandem to manifest my desires - air, water, earth, and fire. I thought this was amazing and it was completely unplanned/unintentional. I do believe this helped me bring everything in my head to fruition.

I picked a day to scout locations and found all of them would work. The cliff was at the Delaware Water Gap in PA, the beach was near my house vast and unending (never thought I would find it), and the cemetery was in my neighborhood, perfectly abandoned with even the names of the dead weathered off of the gravestones. It was very important to me to keep the shoot as authentic as possible --- we would go to the cliff itself and find an insanely high edge --- he would record me walking straight into the ocean --- we would go to the cemetery and shoot there at night. The other thing I knew was that I wanted to release this during the full blood moon. It is when we see her entire illuminated face and I thought it was fitting to take a closer look at the horrors that lie in plain sight, again to go with the rural horror concept. Last year I chose to spread my work out across the month of October because I wrote so much, but this year I could keep it within a week.

Cliff | Here are some photos from the shoot that we did at the Delaware Water Gap. The hike up was so intense, extremely rocky and steep at different times but I went with my photographer and his girlfriend so having two other people with me made me feel like I could go on and complete it. I brought my clothes with me to change and we climbed to the very top of Mt. Tammany, that's where we were able to get the shot that matched almost identically to Lana Del Rey's. The views were breathtaking, but it was really scary standing at different edges of the mountain, I had to breathe it out, but for art I'll do almost anything. You can see the final photo I used + the writing here.

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The Sea | Here is some footage of me when I first found the location, along with other important moments. I had someone tanning nearby take a video of me so I could test what it would look like walking away from the camera. This was one of the hardest of all the shoots because I couldn't get clear on the idea. In the end the simple walking into the ocean worked, and the day I thought to do it was very spontaneous and last minute. I woke up in the morning thinking how vulnerable I feel at that hour. Didn't do my makeup. Just put on a big tee and felt a pull to go do the shoot. It was windy and raining which I thought was absolutely perfect, so I called my guy and he said he would be there. After I hung up I realized I called him at 11:11 and I just kept telling them thank you. The rainy shot is me waiting for my friend at the location. I was sitting in my car crying uncontrollably in order to get myself into the right mindset. The weather was absolutely insane, but the universe totally protected me when I went into the water. You can see the final video I used + the writing here.

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Graveyard | Here are some photos from our time spent at the cemetery - the last one is the herbs that turned black from how high the flame was on the candle I used to burn them the night I finished writing this piece. The flame was so strong and large, that never happens, I thought it was symbolic of how strongly I felt the words I was writing. I bought a bag of garden soil from Home Depot and poured it all over myself. I wore a trapeze style dress to feel younger. The entire premise behind this was me watching the masculine part of me carry myself out of this grave that had been dug for me, but it was genuinely just a dream. I couldn't leave the grave at the time, when I was younger. It felt impossible. I knew exactly who I wanted to do this with, and coincidentally the photographer was friends with him. I recalled seeing him at the gym, pale skin and very dark features like mine. I liked that he looked dead half the time, I needed someone who looked somewhat like me due to the concept. I always admired what he looked like so we reached out and he agreed to participate. You can see the final photo I used + the writing here.

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Fire | Here are some ideas we tried before settling on the final. For myself personally I had to keep in mind that this was the first get together that my photographer and I had, so it's almost like we were feeling each other out, figuring out how we would end up working together. I would later regret not making this one more authentic in that we should have been in front of a blazing fire. It ultimately conveyed exactly what I intended (just would have rather made it more realistic if we had more time) which was that there is a fire that I am witnessing, and I'm so close to it, but it's not burning me, not anymore. The fire symbolized all of my own family trauma and how that has affected me over the course of my life, from each individual that played a part in the way I grew up, down to myself and the way I chose to hurt myself as a reaction to everything going on around me. You can see the final photo I used + the writing here.

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Overall this was probably the most I went all out for my art. I had an amazing experience and I'll never forget it. Not to mention it just meant to so much to me that the universe kept speaking to me through my tarot cards telling me to have patience and to know they are working hard to help me (kept pulling the Temperance card throughout the weeks of the project). Ultimately releasing felt like such a relief, but I needed a good week off after of doing absolutely nothing. Every day after work or on the weekend I was working on this. It took so much out of me emotionally and physically but it was totally and completely worth it.

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working with hecate

Notebook

Because I can’t remember what on the internet led me to her, I don’t think it’s that important to mention. I do know that at that time (late 2019) I had been so fed up with my abandonment wounds that I sought specific spiritual intervention to help me better understand them, but also to help me heal them if I could. Up until then I had done some work on myself after a short-lived fling led me to the doors of both Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA) and Codependents Anonymous (CODA). I even had successfully let go of another brief relationship while in those groups - without persisting, begging, struggling, forcing, etc. If you struggle with abandonment in any form and anxiety around it, you know that that feels near impossible to do. It gave me hope I could do more work which would loosen the grip my dark side had over me. When I found Hecate, Keeping Her Keys (KHK) by Cyndi Brannen was the perfect companion to the deep work I would begin with her. I needed a notebook to keep track of all I was doing and I didn’t want it to be big and bulky. I love Red Bubble because it offers endless designs to put on the cover and the standard notebook is slim (with a folder in the back!) and I just happened to find an abstract drawing of Hecate so it was perfect.

Intention

I eased into KHK slowly. I was a little afraid to work with the goddess because I didn’t know much about her. I just know I was led to this point so it must have been meaningful. When I started researching I realized she is a goddess from ancient Greek religion. I don’t place much emphasis on my background anymore but my Greek origin was such a strong presence in my life during my younger years. I knew the traditions, how to speak the language and write it, so pronouncing Hecate’s name and reading/speaking her epithets (which are in Greek) came naturally. I won’t detail every lesson in Brannen’s book but I will give you the highlights of how I worked through my intention and tell you tales that I don’t believe would have unfolded unless I were working directly with her at that time.

Khk

KHK has you do the course over several lunar cycles so that it lasts a year. For someone like me who can be all over the place creatively this set up offers structure. You know what you will do ahead of time lesson by lesson and you can plan ahead to keep yourself organized. The best part is Brannen is your guide as someone who is deeply connected to Hecate. When you start you will experience confirmation that the goddess wants you to be working with her. For example I remember buying the planner I always buy for the 2020 year and at the very beginning there was an article about working with Hecate which I had never seen in other planners from years before. So essentially on a physical level you should expect lots of signs, the constant sighting of 3s and on a spiritual level you will get to speak with her, get messages from her, get to know her, and she will get to know you and your soul. Keep in mind that a relationship formed with the Dark Mother as they call her is life-long-lasting. I learned this at the end of that year.

1-5By no coincidence around the time I started the book I got the courage to begin consistently dating again after being on a break for years. I would encounter many people and through them learn really important facts - not only did I have issues with abandonment but also with abandon“ing,” how and why my anxiety paralyzed me when others walked away, and in a particular lesson Hecate’s epithets revealed the exact same pattern I experienced every time someone left (Phoberos, Polyonumos, Skotia). When everything shut down in March I learned about housekeeping concerning Hecate: how to summon her with an evocation, of which there are 6 parts (so powerful), and the Dark Moon gratitude ritual followed by the Noumenia prayer to her (both occurring each lunar cycle) where you set intentions under the goddess so that she may intervene and help you each month.

                                                              5-10
What I also love about the book is that while you are going through the lessons you will find yourself needing to research a bit and reference Brannen’s website (a very deep source of knowledge on all things Hecate) which is helpful if you need clarity on something. In doing so you will discover even more magic around Hecate and other workings you may want to do on the side. For me such was The Rite of Her Sacred Fires, which remains the most potent, life-changing ritual I have come across to date. Of the 78 cards in the tarot I directly identify with the Queen of Wands as my true self, so any working that has a heavy focus on fire symbolically or tangibly will have an intense effect on me. I recap my experience with the Sacred Fires Ritual here, but I will just say for three weeks straight after I myself felt like I was on fire with my creativity shooting through the roof.

During the summer I also met a person who would give me a glimpse into what a healthy relationship looked and felt like. Somehow all the negativity of the past fell away during this beautiful experience and while with him I was led to a book on attachment styles which I read in like a day because it described me so vividly, and it helped me accept the darker side of myself more readily, criticize it less, and understand it on a deeper level more than ever before. To me this was just another divine part of getting closer to the intention I had set for this entire year.

In processing the end of that three month relationship my creativity was lit up yet again in August carrying me all the way through October when I would create and release several works of poetry about my past that just seemed to pour out all at once. You can read all about that here. In doing so I faced a big fear of being vulnerable with my past and the relationships I have been in and also reframing them. I have never released any of my work publicly - it’s personal, weird, and can get very deep and dark. It was also my first collaboration with another artist. I trace every last part of all of these events to working with Hecate’s sacred fires.

Dmtr
{ part of my dark mother tarot spread }

Another side working I discovered on Brannen’s website was the Dark Mother Tarot Ritual, which is a detailed 18-card layout. From the author: “Our shadow selves are of great interest to Hecate, who will willingly help us tame them by taking their fear based energy back into the underworld from whence it came. She is the psychopomp, shining a light as we seek spiritual death and rebirth. This process is only achieved through embracing our shadow. There is no wholeness without shadow. Light cannot exist without dark.” This ritual would be very powerful because in doing so I would reveal my true self, my shadow self, and I would be shown how to integrate the two by Hecate through the interpretation of all the cards. My abandonment wounds always felt bigger than life to me, especially as a young girl, I was afraid to like others for fear of feeling trapped and lovesick/addicted. All I wanted was to learn how to control my attachment to other people and to understand myself better. I can’t tell you how spot on the layout from the ritual was. Again I knew it was another step in the direction of healing for me, and seeking to fulfill the intention I set at the beginning.

Stat

The last two months working with the goddess consisted of a sacred initiation which I won’t go into. What I will say is you are crowned, and Hecate will always be in your life when you need her from then on. I wanted to purchase a statute for my altar at the end of the year but it wasn’t ready for me. Later, it would be made and released and I would purchase it a few weeks before I wrote this. Adding something to your altar after working with her sort of weaves her into your fabric and also makes a space for you to remember what you learned every time you look at it and know she is there at all times if you need her. Aside from that, had I accomplished my intention? I would definitely say so. After recapping everything above that I learned, my outlook toward that part of me has changed and I’ve learned a great deal about myself to carry me forward in dating and eventually a relationship I can build on with a partner.


on my tattoo road trip

Paoh

My tattoo road trip to PAOH (Pennsylvania and Ohio) all started with the above image created by artist Kitty Meltvedt.

Last year while I was studying for the bar exam I needed some creativity time, so I started thinking very seriously about my sleeve. I had a few tattoos on my arm already but I knew I wanted to build a full sleeve although I hadn't decided on a theme just yet. As I was researching random things I knew I wanted, it came to me -- this major vision for my entire arm. The top half would have to do with the universe only, and things I'd experienced in this lifetime that came directly from the universe such as with very special individuals and other things that touched me very deeply. The bottom half would consist of everything I had experienced in the physical realm, down here, such as love/loss, pain, childhood trauma, and things I am very attracted to such as a gothic aesthetic, the theory of the devil etc. I didn't realize it but only one tattoo didn't make sense as it was placed where I would theoretically keep the universe theme (top half of arm) but really that was it, so this idea would work because my other tattoos happened to be in corresponding places.

The most important part of this theme would be the centerpiece, the core, the crux of the entire thing -- what came to me was a planchette which would bring the whole vision together. Inside it would contain my futhark runes (which were already near the crease in my elbow) and that made perfect sense because the planchette would symbolize my spiritual awakening, which triggered every single belief I now hold about the universe and the physical realm, and basically changed the trajectory of my entire life. So if the planchette held the runes (which on their own each meaning was placed according to the order in which I was awakened) it just would be so perfect.

So I started looking up hashtags on Instagram for planchette ideas, and that's when I came across two artists. One was Kitty Meltvedt of Black Dahlia Tattoo Studio in Willoughby, Ohio (and her eye photo up above) and the other was Jessica Czernics of Alter Ego Body Art Studio in Castle Shannon, PA. I loved their styles and how dark they were and at the time although I thought it would be cool to visit them (the shops were about 4 hours apart) it wasn't possible or at least I didn't think it was due to money, time, etc. at the time. I followed them both on Instagram and admired from afar until this whole earth shift occurred in March 2020 and I started doing a lot of new things.

After traveling to Salem on my own (first trip I ever took alone) last year, I was totally ready for this second solo trip but most importantly I placed faith in the universe that I could pull it off and I did which was the most amazing feeling - this once again reiterated to me that I am safe and protected and they have my back at all times. So I booked it and here are some highlights!

I decided best thing to do for a trip like this was to rent a car. I wouldn't have to worry about anyone knowing I wasn't from PA during this punishing time by authority figures (esp. in PA) - my license plates said PA and I didn't even notice that until I got home with the car! Once again my spirit guides were totally supporting me on this trip. I planned to get my hotel at the exact center between both shops if I could, and stay for 4 days, the first to hang and relax/second to go to PA/third to go to OH/then I could sleep and last just get up and drive home. All of this worked out very well and seamlessly.

I planned my clothing/accessories just like I did for Salem, I wanted to make it a similar trip, dark and spiritual.

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{ first day's outfit }
 
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{ second day's outfit }
 
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{ cider nails }

First up was Jess over at Alter Ego. She was just like I had imagined when we met and we took these awesome pics. She even offered to go get a drink with me if I was hanging around overnight which was super cool. I chose to get her signature pumpkin spider, a Jess Czernics original which I loved how it came out. I was in and out of the shop. I did visit some spiritual shops throughout PA as well.

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Paoh-7
{ mystic embers shop }

Next day I went to see Kitty of Black Dahlia. She was equally as lovely and I just couldn't wait to get this centerpiece done with that beautiful eye, an eye that I felt resembled mine because I have extra long lashes, and in a way felt like it would be my third eye wide open, very similar to what the person got written under theirs above ("awake and unafraid"). I was so very inspired by that image. To further my idea as the centerpiece I was going to have it say "as above" on upper part above planchette and "so below" under planchette, but I'm going to add this at a later time because I couldn't decide what font I wanted or the placement exactly.

Paoh-5
{ just making myself at home }


Paoh-5

To be really honest getting the planchette tattoo was one of the most painful experiences - very fitting because my spiritual awakening was triggered by one of the most painful experiences of my life with a partner. I shouldn't have expected any less, but since all of my tattoos are very petite, I've only ever known going in and out of a tattoo shop very quickly and almost painlessly - and if there was pain it was minor, only lasted about an hour. This was very different, I was at the shop from 12pm-7pm at night. My Sunday was shot, my plan to go to Cleveland and explore was shot, and halfway through I got very worried that I wouldn't make it through to the end. But Kitty was an absolute wonderful coach and she understood me. It's funny she had to get me cookies and she also used this numbing spray, so those two things actually saved me that day. Thinking about it now it's so funny but during that time I was very upset lol. I believe I was going to use Hecate for help but I was so thrown that this is the experience I was to have with this tattoo, that I forgot all about being able to use her to get through a fear-filled time (I had used her in three other instances and she was so helpful).

Paoh-8
{ the full moon over Ohio }

Overall I had a very fulfilling trip and I would definitely do this again to go somewhere new to get more tattoos by more talented people. I was very grateful to these women for accommodating my schedule and helping me make this happen.


folk horror series

Folk-horror

It is no accident that on July 26 a short but meaningful romance in my life ended - then on July 28 Lana Del Rey's audiobook came out, which I listened to in full the very next day, July 29, on a ride up to see a new spiritual shop that just opened.

I was feeling very down from the ending of the romance and wanted to buy an inspiration-intention candle, which I did that day. I got home, opened the box which stated that the candle on the inside was “inspiration” and discovered the candle had a label which read protection. So the candle was a protection-intention candle. I smelled it, and it smelled like a candle I received in Salem at the end of a very educational tour about witches. You can read my Salem post in full here. I contacted the shop owner and she agreed to exchange it - even though I loved the way it smelled, it’s not what I had intended on getting. After I exchanged it a few days later at the shop, I walked out and smelled it, and the smell made me feel I should re-exchange it for the original, by-no-accident, protection-intention candle I received. So I did.

Nott-lit

My thought was that I needed the protection candle for a reason unknown to me or the shop owner. Little did I know a few days later I would start and not stop writing about all the significant romantic relationships of my past. I loved that this was pouring out of me in such a flow kind of way. I also began having dreams about all of these people soon after. I then contacted my friend Stefanie about an idea I had - she could draw the images and I would add the writings, and we would share them on each other’s Instagram accounts in October for Inktober.

Calendar

All this to say that the story behind this fascinates me, as does magic when you open yourself up to it. The shop owner checked every inspiration candle labeled box to make sure she hadn’t placed more protection candles in them by accident, and she hadn’t. What’s also interesting is that the intention behind this candle was to protect the buyer from someone or something harmful OR to protect from low vibration. It made me think of me and how I felt uninspired and wanted to reconnect with myself in that way (hence going for the inspiration candle). But I also wanted to work through being disappointed that someone I thought would be very special turned out to not be the right fit for me. The idea in itself of creating all of this poetry to eventually release of myself by putting it out there in the public eye for everyone to see, very personal deeply heartbreaking experiences that I went through, to even have the courage to do it made me so happy.

Lit

I believe - since I lit the candle almost every day since I began writing and it was very close to the bottom when I finished writing - that the candle came to me to protect me not only from my own doubts about this project, but from also being worried about getting my resources together to make it happen and gathering the courage to push through and release these feelings that have been living inside me for well over a decade. The candle was there to protect me through that whole process.

I am calling the series folk horror because in my research I found the genre has to do with “monsters terrifying and eliciting sympathy in equal measure,” which to me reflects me and who I am, who I thought I was, who I am now, etc. You can find the entire project on my Instagram accounts, here and here to be posted throughout October.

Super special thanks to:

Stefanie Caponi - for creating all of the art to go along with the poetry on @dianeoflight to be posted throughout October

Daysi from Houss Freya - shop owner/for making amazing candles

Karyn Ironsides - for permission to repost her art to go along with the poetry on @endvabuse to be posted throughout October