CURRENTLY: Sun at 14 Virgo Mercury at 1 Libra Venus at 0 Leo Mars at 28 Aries (Rulership) Jupiter RETROGRADE at 17 Capricorn (fall, very weak) Saturn RETROGRADE at 25 Capricorn (rulership) Neptune at 19 Pisces (rulership, strong) Pluto RETROGRADE at 22 Capricorn North Node at 25 Gemini
We’re in the dark of the Moon this week, so don’t do anything, just rest. The Moon is waning until next Thursday, September 17th when we will have a New Moon in Virgo.
Currently, Mars is at a dead stop in the sky, and will turn retrograde (go backwards) on Wednesday. It will retrace it’s steps and go over ground we’ve already covered, retriggering the sensitive degrees which heralded Covid19. The earth shaking changes of 2020 were sparked by the rare and fateful conjunction between Saturn and Pluto on January 12th. Mars has been tensely squaring these planets for weeks, giving energy to the dynamic protest movements erupting around the world. Mars will now go back and wake it all up, continuing the intensity of this year.
On a personal level, Mars is taking us on a journey through the underworld until November 13th. This means our energy is directed inward, and we look at ourselves rather than taking action on people or situations around us. We reassess our ambitions while Mars is retrograde, and revaluate our life path and direction. It is a time to think about our actions, and whether they are aligned with the life and world we want to create.
What’s the truth right now… what are you DOING?
What kind of life do you want to have, and are your current actions in alignment with creating it?
Are your goals in alignment with your true and highest self?
Your energy and drive are valuable; is it worth what you’re spending our time on?
Have your goals changed and do you want something different?
The North Node in Gemini encourages us to connect online. It’s up to us to let go of our repressed sexuality and anger (Pluto), welcome inspiration (Jupiter), and restructure our reality (Saturn). Venus in Leo, the sign of the heart, asks us to fall in love with ourselves and the creativity we hold inside, and share it with the world.
Monday, September 7th: Moon in Taurus. Great day to get out in nature or work in a garden… except for all of the smoke of course 😦 Cook an opulent mean instead. Taurus Moon is good for focusing on health and working with animals.
Tuesday, September 8th: Moon VOC all day in Taurus. Ground through nurturing your needs and home life. Make art.
Wednesday, September 9th: Moon into Gemini. Chatty. Good day for talking, sociability and online activities. Mars goes retrograde at 3:22pm Pacific. Tensions could be high today, so don’t dig too deep. Issues around sex, anger, and ambition may arise, as well as challenges with men. Focus on the goal. Avoid aggressive people, as violence can happen easily with Mars stationary retrograde.
Thursday, September 10th: Moon in Gemini. Good communications today, but stay civil.
Friday, September 11th: Moon in Cancer. Lots of sensitivity, sweetness and nostalgia. Arguments and drama will get you nowhere, so disconnect if someone wants to fight. Avoid overindulgence, except with food. Good movie night.
Saturday, September 12th: Moon in Cancer, Jupiter DIRECT in Capricorn. Sagittarians will feel great today with their ruling planet going the right direction. For the rest of us it’s a mixed bag. The desire for drugs and alcohol can be strong. Bring some compassion into your day. Use your imagination today and be receptive to inspiration and visions.
CURRENTLY: Sun at 18 Leo Mercury at 11 Cancer (weak) Venus at 3 Cancer Mars at 22 Aries (Rulership) Jupiter RETROGRADE at 19 Capricorn (fall, very weak) Saturn RETROGRADE at 27 Capricorn (rulership) Pluto RETROGRADE at 23 Capricorn Neptune at 20 Pisces (rulership, strong) North Node at 26 Gemini
We’re in the dark of the Moon this week, so don’t do anything, just rest. The Moon is waning, or balsamic, until next Tuesday, August 18th when we will have a New Moon in Leo. There’s a lot roiling under the surface…
The current Sun in Leo is a wonderful time, since out brightest star has come home to his kingdom. We can let our hair down and be ourselves. The Sun symbolizes the soul and identity, and invites us to express ourselves. The background of Saturn, Pluto and Jupiter in Capricorn have changed how we do this. We can express ourselves, but we have to protect our fellow humans from the scourge of Covid19 at the same time. We need to wear masks and physically distance. The North Node in Gemini encourages us to connect online. It’s up to us to let go of our heavy worries (Pluto), welcome inspiration (Jupiter), and restructure our reality (Saturn). Leo, the sign of the heart, asks us to fall in love with ourselves and the creativity we hold inside, and share it with the world.
And then there’s all the stuff going in Aries which is INTENSE! We have Black Moon Lilith (wild feminine) joining forces with Eris (Goddess of Discord) – both hanging out with Mars (God of War). Yikes. These three are scary enough on their own, all sitting on their dark thrones at 22 Aries. They bring the absolute insistence to be ourselves, define our boundaries and fight if need be to make a point. Have you seen the violence in American cities over the past week? Stand offs and clashes between protestors and police, looters… and that horrible explosion in Beirut. These three are squaring (causing tension) with the three in Capricorn, causing the fall of old patriarchal structures, institutions, and governments (Saturn). Change is in the air.
This affects us personally too. We need to find our deep, repressed, toxic wounds and give them some air. Collectively, there is a new spotlight on the toxic wounds of slavery, racism, sexism and wealth disparity. It’s all coming up to be healed and shifted. We need to own all that we are, all that we’ve done, and all that we want to be; moving forward with justice and compassion for our fellow woman and man.
Mars square Pluto will be exact on Thursday, and will be continuing into October. This square can be violent and will turn the heat way up on simple disagreements. Be diplomatic and avoid risks. Seriously. The pandemic and rioting can increase the danger on the streets. Remember Pluto represents repressed sexuality, ambition, anger and masculinity. Lilith, Eris and Mars have the keys are letting this energy loose. Men in general, and Aries people, can get into a lot of trouble the second half of this year.
Monday, August 10th: Moon in Taurus. Authority can be stubborn today, so best to not rock the boat. However, if you want to bring stability to an issue, today is a good day to work on it.
Tuesday, August 11th: Moon in Taurus. Refocus on your needs and home life. Walk in nature, work in the garden and cook something scrumptious. Beware of overspending with online shopping.
Wednesday, August 12th: Moon into Gemini. Chatty day, good for talking, sociability and online activities. Tensions are rising though with tomorrow’s event, so don’t dig too deep.
Thursday, August 13th: Moon in Gemini. Mars, Lilith and Eris in EXACT square to Pluto. Stay in bed lol. Seriously though, lay low today and stay under the radar. This square could ignite big confrontations.
Friday, August 14th: Moon in Gemini, going into Cancer at 4:35pm Pacific. Probably the best day for reaching an understanding with others. Good movie night.
Saturday, August 15th: Moon in Cancer, Uranus RETROGRADE in Taurus. Get yourself grounded and centered before undertaking anything. Bring some compassion into your day.
Sunday, August 16th: Moon in Cancer continues… be kind to yourself and others. We are in the realm of the New Moon, so contemplate what you’d like to see happen in your life over the next month.
CURRENTLY: Sun at 4 Leo Mercury at 15 Cancer (weak) Venus at 20 Gemini (neutral) Mars at 15 Aries (Rulership) Jupiter RETROGRADE at 20 Capricorn (fall, very weak) Saturn RETROGRADE at 28 Capricorn (rulership) Pluto RETROGRADE at 23 Capricorn Neptune at 20 Pisces (rulership, strong) North Node at 27 Gemini
The Sun is now in Leo, the playful sign of the Summer Lion. The Sun represents the Soul, and the sign of Leo is it’s natural home. The Sun rules healing, leadership, creativity, romance, children, and our ability to shine. It’s presence in your chart indicates the most important area of your life. We’ve made it through the transformative eclipses of June/July, now we reestablish our new identities in the brightness of our star.
This week sees the start of some amazing planetary oppositions and “square offs”. Mercury (the Mind) is opposing the heavyweight planets of the “Covid point” – Pluto, Jupiter and Saturn. Then Mars (drive, strength) comes along and squares these same planets. The Saturn-Pluto conjunction that set off this year’s pandemic, social upheaval and global restructuring, will be shaken and stirred by these aspects. Astrologically, each of us is being transformed by the power of Pluto, the seriousness of Saturn, the truth of Jupiter and the heat of Mars I hope these tensions in the sky won’t translate to more violent protests here on Earth. Take care of yourself and your loved ones. If you’re going to a protest be extra careful, especially around the police.
Both collectively and individually, this is a time to face our deepest selves and to own all that we are, all that we’ve done, and all that we want to be.
Monday, July 27th: Moon in Scorpio. Mercury squares Mars today, which can bring opportunities for truth sharing and blunt opinions. With the Moon in Scorpio, it’s best to avoid “going there”. Keep things as light as you can, because folks are sensitive right now. Venus square Neptune today gives us creative and artistic opportunities, but we have to actually DO it. Daydreaming or escaping reality doesn’t count. These two aspects are influencing us all week.
Tuesday, July 28th: Moon in Scorpio. Transform and rebirth yourself. Set yourself on fire like the Phoenix, and fly high like an eagle. Scorpio is the sign of letting go of something you’ve outgrown, and welcoming the new you.
Wednesday, July 29th: Moon in Sagittarius. It’s a day of motion and looking at the big picture. It’s a lighter mood if you need to express something difficult or challenging to someone.
Thursday, June 30th: Moon into Sagittarius. Day of truth and justice. Pragmatic, honorable, and well-thought-out actions will bring progress to your ambitions. Mercury opposes Jupiter today, so commit to facts rather than fantasies.
Friday, June 31st: Moon in Capricorn. A serious tone for people seeking romance and fun. Time is better spent on completing responsibilities, cooking, resting, and getting grounded.
Saturday, August 1st: Moon in Capricorn. Get yourself grounded and centered before undertaking anything. Today the Mercury Opposition to Pluto is exact. The Moon is in the same area and could create stubbornness, inflexibility and stony silences. Journaling, meditation, online research and healing are a great use of time. It could be an evening of transformative conversations involving sex, healing, ambitions and money.
Sunday, August 2nd: Moon in Aquarius. Sun square Uranus exact. Watch out for risky behavior, since Uranus brings spontaneity, rebellion, and independence. Focus on the future, and expressing your unique genius.
CURRENTLY: Sun at 21 Cancer Mercury now DIRECT at 5 Cancer (weak) Venus at 10 Gemini (neutral) Mars at 8 Aries (rulership & strong) Jupiter RETROGRADE at 22 Capricorn (fall, very weak) Saturn RETROGRADE at 29 Capricorn (rulership) Pluto RETROGRADE at 23 Capricorn Neptune RETROGRADE at 20 Pisces (rulership, strong) North Node at 28 Gemini
We’re in the dark of the Moon this week, so don’t do anything, just wrap up loose ends and rest. It’s the dark of the Moon, preparing for a New Moon in Cancer NEXT Monday. Big time feminine energy this weekend as the Moon (women) transits Aries (the warrior) and conjuncts Mars (assertiveness), Chiron (healing), Lilith (wild women) and Eris (discord). Also Black Moon Lilith will be conjunct Eris this week, AND squaring Pluto in Capricorn (patriarchy). Watch for more upheaval around women’s equality and the rights of the oppressed. This week could see some bitter truths revealed with violent repercussions.
Sunday, July 12th: Mercury IS DIRECT around 1:30 AM Pacific. Mercury is standing still (stationing) in the sky all week, so things won’t be up to speed for several days. With the dark of the Moon, and Mercury stationing Direct, use this week to wrap up loose ends, organize, and rest. Start communications and negotiations next week when Mercury has gained momentum.
Monday, July 13th: Moon in Taurus. Focus on your needs and home life. Walk in nature, work in the garden and cook something scrumptious. Beware of overspending with online shopping. Romantic day.
Tuesday, July 14th: Moon in Taurus. Work with animals and take care of your possessions. Clean out the garage lol. Not the best day to seek concessions from authorities, but a great day to work on your finances. Tax day tomorrow!
Wednesday, July 15th: Moon in Taurus. Day of continuity from yesterday’s developments. Taurus moon means to be cautious, so stay away from risks or negotiation. Stabilize what is already in motion.
Thursday, June 16th: Moon into Gemini. Chatty day, good for talking, truth-telling and online activities. Mercury Direct will enhance the lovely social vibe. Save important purchases and conversations for next week.
Friday, June 17th: Moon in Gemini, going void-of-course 2:14pm Pacific. Probably the best day for reaching an understanding with others. Good date night, but wear a mask 🙂 We are in the realm of the New Moon, so contemplate what you’d like to see happen in your life over the next several months. Romantic evening.
Saturday, June 18th: Moon in Cancer. Get yourself grounded and centered before undertaking anything. Bring some compassion into your day. People are SENSITIVE this weekend, so don’t rattle the cage.
Sunday, June 19th: Moon in Cancer continues… we are in the orb of the New Moon in Cancer tomorrow, so prepare for a rebirth or new beginning. What do you want to build up or focus on over the next month? It starts now.
CURRENTLY: Sun at 25 Gemini Mercury at 15 Cancer, going RETROGRADE (weak) Venus RETROGRADE at 7 Gemini (neutral) Mars at 21 Pisces (weak) Jupiter RETROGRADE at 25 Capricorn (fall, very weak) Saturn RETROGRADE at 1 Aquarius (rulership) Pluto RETROGRADE at 24 Capricorn Neptune at 20 Pisces (rulership, strong) North Node at 29 Gemini
We’re in the dark of the Moon this week, so don’t start anything just rest. We are however, moving towards some major events on Saturday, June 20th. The Sun will move into Cancer heralding the Summer Solstice! It’s the time of longest days and greatest light. The yearly astrological cycle reaches a climax this week. Whatever seed you planted at the Spring Equinox should begin to show itself.
Along with the Summer Solstice this Saturday, we have a Full Moon ECLIPSE at 0 degrees Cancer! June is the month of eclipses, and this energy is making us change. We are rebirthing ourselves, our lives, and hopefully our society, into a world that supports and values everyone. The events of June will continue to unfold over the next six months.
Mars conjunct Neptune AND the Moon over the weekend is still in effect. It’s not the happiest place for Mars, and men in particular might be struggling. Still, our energy is driven towards the collective unconscious which is currently demanding real change in the face of racial disparity. We are one people, and this needs to be acknowledged and assimilated deeply in a new way. The grief and anger is palpable, and my heart goes out to all the folks suffering right now.
Neptune is a big part of the current cultural shifts. This planet allows us to easily access intuition, mysticism, healing, Magick, art and music as part of expressing ourselves. With the North Node (destiny) in Gemini (community), we can bring healing towards our local groups and society – which I hope will happen ❤
Also, the planet Venus is part of the picture this week. The planet of Love, beauty and women is currently going through her retrograde cycle, which is commonly seen as her descent through the underworld. Venus is still near (but moving away) from her conjunction with the Sun a couple weeks ago, so we cannot see her in the skies. She is invisible to the human eye and traveling through the underworld, about to be reborn as the Morning Star on June 25th. Anything that has been denied in our lives and society is visible now and demanding acknowledgement, which can be seen in the racial injustice and new protest movement encircling the globe.
Monday, June 15th: Moon in Aries. Good day to start things, but don’t be headstrong. Moon will be squaring Pluto, Jupiter and Saturn (the Covid point), so stay out of social complications and arguments with other people.
Tuesday, June 16th: Moon in Taurus. Refocus on your needs and home life. Walk in nature, work in the garden and cook something scrumptious. Beware of overspending with online shopping.
Wednesday, June 17th: Moon in Taurus, Mercury retrograde at 15 Cancer. Day of continuity from yesterday’s developments, but with Mercury stationing retrograde, be careful around communication, negotiation and signing anything important. Taurus moon means to be cautious, so stay away from risks or negotiation. Stabilize what is already in motion.
Thursday, June 18th: Moon into Gemini at 2pm Pacific, Mercury Retrograde at 15 Cancer. Creative day focused on self-nurturing.
Friday, June 19th: Moon in Gemini. Probably the best day for reaching an understanding with others. Good date night, but wear a mask 🙂 We are in the realm of the New Moon, so contemplate what you’d like to see happen in your life over the next several months.
Saturday, June 20th: SUMMER SOLSTICE. New Moon ECLIPSE at 0 Cancer at 11:41pm. Moon in Gemini, Sun into Cancer. Today is the highpoint of the Sun, the time of greatest light and longest days. We will be full of energy and ambition today, however, Mars conjunct Neptune is exact which can confuse our efforts. Get yourself grounded and centered before undertaking anything. Bring some compassion into your day.
Sunday, June 21st: New Moon ECLIPSE in Cancer continues… be kind to yourself and others.
This is the most important thing a person an learn in their lifetime, and if you were never taught, you can learn it. Mastering this will make your life much better – in every possible way. If you struggle financially, or with loneliness, this could be part of it.
“It’s a shame so few of us are taught the basics of how to interact constructively with each other. If you never were, we’re here to help.
Learning social skills can be difficult if you weren’t exposed to traditional group dynamics as a child, if you struggle with a mental illness like anxiety or depression, or even if you just didn’t have a lot of positive role models when you were growing up. Young people tend to learn how to manage their own emotions, recognize those of other people and manage them both effectively by socializing. If these weren’t skills you developed growing up, don’t worry. You’re not alone.
The social foundation: emotional intelligence
Before we get to specific social situations, we should discuss the concept of emotional intelligence (or E.I.). Put very simply, E.I. is your ability to acknowledge your own emotions, recognize emotions in others and use that information to guide your behavior. This is a relatively new area of study in the field of psychology, and developing your own E.I. can help you understand and improve your social interactions.
There are several models of emotional intelligence, but for our purposes, we’ll look at the author Daniel Goleman. He outlines five general categories of E.I. that complement and support one another.
Self-awareness: This simply means being able to identify your own emotions and how they work. Are you anxious in loud environments? Do you get angry when people talk over you? If you know these things about yourself, then you’re practicing self-awareness. This can be more difficult than it sounds, but simply being aware of yourself is all it takes for this step.
Self-regulation: Taking it a step further, self-regulation deals with your ability not just to know your emotions, but manage them. Sometimes that might mean handling them as they come up. If you get angry, knowing how to calm yourself down is important. However, it can also deal with managing the emotions you will face. If you know that stalking your ex’s Facebook is just going to make you feel bad, self-regulation would help you go do something to better your own life instead.
Motivation: External factors like money, status, or pain are powerful motivators. But in Goleman’s model, internal motivation is a key component. This means that you know how to manage your own motivation and create or continue projects because you choose to, not because something outside yourself demands it.
Empathy: It’s just as important to be aware of the emotions of others. This might mean developing the skills to recognize how people are expressing themselves — can you tell the difference between someone who’s comfortable versus someone who’s anxious? — but it also means understanding how other people may respond to the circumstances they’re in.
Socialization: This area deals with your ability to steer your relationships and navigate social situations. It doesn’t mean controlling others, but understanding how to get where you want to be with other people. That might mean conveying your ideas to co-workers, managing a team, or dealing with a conflict in a relationship.
Every social situation is different and there isn’t always a “correct” way to handle any of them. However, when viewed through the lens of these core competencies, most social situations become a lot more manageable. We’ll go over some common scenarios even adults might struggle with, but keep in mind how these principles can apply in all situations.
Constructively confront someone
Confronting someone when you have a problem with that person can be scary. If you’re the type to avoid conflict, you might rationalize it away by saying you want to keep the peace, or you don’t want to upset anyone. However, this can be a way of avoiding your own feelings. If there wasn’t something bothering you, there would be nothing to confront anyone about.
Dr. Ryan Howes, a clinical psychologist, explained to Psychology Today that it’s our own fears that keep us from confronting others. Our fear that we’ll lose something we have, that we’ll hurt someone we care about, or that it will hurt but accomplish nothing. One of the first steps to constructively confronting someone is to recognize that fear in yourself and identify the real issues that led to the conflict in the first place. If you’re annoyed that your partner forgot your birthday, for example, ignoring how you feel about it won’t resolve the conflict.
Once you’re ready, Gregg Walker, a professor at Oregon State University, recommends having the conversation when there’s time to discuss the issue, focusing on “I” statements like “I feel hurt that we didn’t do anything for my birthday,” and describing behavior and your reaction to it, rather than hurling accusations. Healthy confrontations require a fair amount of awareness of your own emotions, so this is a good time to practice that skill.
Speak up and be heard in a group
Whether it’s a meeting or a party, any time you get more than a couple of people together in a group, it can become difficult (if not impossible) to get a word in edgewise. While most tricks on how to combat this involve managing how you talk — pausing in the middle of a sentence rather than the end, or finishing your sentence even if someone tries to interrupt — an often overlooked issue is managing how you react to being talked over.
It would be great if everyone was polite and let you finish or paused to ask what you’re thinking. This doesn’t always happen. If someone interrupts you and you become annoyed, that can kill your motivation to speak up again. Or you might become visibly agitated and demand to be heard, which can be off putting and make people less likely to want to listen to what you have to say.
Instead, Chris Macleod, counselor and author of “The Social Skills Guidebook,” suggests accepting that group conversations are a “vortex of noise and chaos” and going with the flow. Don’t spend all your time trying to fit in that one thing you badly wanted to say. Instead, go with the flow of the conversation and look for new opportunities to jump in. When you do, speak loudly and with confidence. More practical tricks like keeping your stories short or framing a complaint as a story can smooth over the experience, but regulating your own frustration and annoyance is the foundation these tricks build on.
Make (and keep) new friends as an adult
When you’re young, making friends can be relatively easy. School often means that there’s a group of people you’re required to hang out with who are your age. You may share some interests, and you’ll see one another almost every day. As an adult, it can be harder. Everyone’s busy, everyone’s tired, and time feels in short supply. Or so it seems. What really may be lacking is motivation.
As Vox explains, one of the most important keys to developing a new friendship is, well, showing up. You both say, “We should hang out sometime!” but for some reason you never do. Why? Sure, you have things going on, but you still managed to binge watch the latest “Stranger Things.” There’s nothing wrong with a little “me” time, but it’s also O.K. to spend some of it reaching out to someone new.
When making new friends, you have to start with some internal motivation. Decide for yourself that you’re going to make friends and then put yourself in situations where that can happen. Take a class, join a club, or just talk to people you know but aren’t friends with yet. More important, follow up. If you find someone you want to be friends with — and especially if there are indications that person wants to be friends with you, too — put it on the very top of your to-do list to follow up. You’ll be surprised how easy it is when you do it on purpose.
Strike up a conversation with someone new
Talking to a stranger for the first time — whether it’s at a party, a work event, or just on the street — can be complicated. You never know less about someone than when you first meet them. That’s also something you can use to your advantage. People like to talk about themselves. So much so that, according to research from Harvard University, people will sometimes even give up money to be able to talk about themselves.
You might feel awkward or uncomfortable when you’re out on your own, but practicing a little empathy can reveal a powerful truth: So does everyone else. Research from the University of Chicago found that less than 47 percent of its participants believed a stranger would be willing to talk with them. In reality, every attempt was successful. Most of us are willing to have a conversation, we just don’t always want to be the one to make the first move.
However, not everyone is open to a conversation with strangers all the time. An easy way to check is to pay attention to what they’re doing at the time. Are they wearing headphones? Do they seem in a hurry? Are they at their job and only making conversation as part of their duties? If so, you might try again later (or with someone else). If they’re not busy, start by saying hello or opening with a compliment. From there you can keep the conversation going with the “insight and question” method. Simply offer an observation or insight, follow it up with a question, and let the conversation flow naturally.
These are far from the only social situations you might find yourself struggling with, but the principles that can be applied are nearly universal. Acknowledge your own emotional state and manage your needs and feelings in a constructive way. Take the initiative to pursue the social outcomes you want, and empathize with others who are dealing with the same struggles you are. With practice, the rest of the complex nuances of social interaction will flow a lot more naturally.
That’s a LOT of witches! I’ve encountered a few different articles on this lately, and from my own research, it seems to be true. From an article in Quartz by Sangeeta Singh-Kurtz & Dan Kopf in October this year, “Although Trinity College hasn’t run a survey since 2008, the Pew Research Center picked up the baton in 2014. It found that 0.4% of Americans, or around 1 to 1.5 million people, identify as Wicca or Pagan—which suggests continued robust growth for the communities.”
I often hear, “are there enough healers, witches, magicians and artists on the planet to heal our society? Well it appears the numbers are climbing, and hopefully healing will spread along with it. 🙂
“Though the data is sparse, what we do know is that the practice of witchcraft has seen major growth in recent decades. As the witch aesthetic has risen, so has the number of people who identify as witches.
The best source of data on the number of witches in the US comes from assessments of the Wicca population. Not all people who practice witchcraft consider themselves Wicca, but the religion makes up a significant subset, as Alden Wicker noted for Quartz in 2016.
Wicca is a largely Western religious movement that dates back to the mid-20th century in the US and UK. According to the site wicca.com, it’s a belief system informed by “pre-Christian traditions originating in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales,” that promotes “free thought and will of the individual, and encourages learning and an understanding of the earth and nature.
From 1990 to 2008, Trinity College in Connecticut ran three large, detailed religion surveys. Those have shown that Wicca grew tremendously over this period. From an estimated 8,000 Wiccans in 1990, they found there were about 340,000 practitioners in 2008. They also estimated there were around 340,000 Pagans in 2008.
“I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about witches. Not just because top ten lists of hot tv witches and sexy Halloween selfies currently swamp my social media feeds, but because my tables and shelves are currently so laden with herbs, plants, berries, phials and bottles that if an inquisitor of old were to enter, I’d find myself quickly tied to the stake. And while this worry seems remote, it’s a plain fact that women in third world countries are still hunted down, tortured and set aflame for the crime of witchcraft.
Sure, the witch is emerging from the world of taboo and shadows onto the world stage. Sure, she’s being touted as a feminist icon – a “powerful feminine model free from male influence or ownership”. But I’m not so sure. Because how can it be that the witch, once associated with everything transgressive and beyond the realm of normative society, is now so trendy and positively mainstream? Is it really a feminist step forward that W magazine declared Fall 2016, the season of the witch, replete with pouting models in gothic dresses, chains and black lace underwear?
And while many believe the witch of the middle ages was a spectre created by the church, I believe she was real. Yes, many put to death were just ordinary women who practiced folk magic, herbalism and midwifery, but many were powerful spiritual leaders of the indigenous, animist faith traditions of the old world – and their magic was earned through a lifetime of spiritual discipline spent in communion with nature.
And I worry her make-over into nubile fashion siren not only obscures this history, but her true relevance as a role model to us today. One that if resurrected, would be just as subversive and dangerous to the powers that be.
Today the witches tall black hat and burbling cauldron have become icons of Halloween kitsch, but they were once hallowed items of the holy women and priestesses, the healers and herbalists, the oracles and diviners of old Europe. Their conical hats and cauldrons date back to the 2nd Millennium BCE and were connected to the female shamans of the Indo-European peoples.
Tarim Mummies, 1800 BCE
Scythian Princess and her cauldron, 4th to 5th century BCE
Their cauldrons (as well as crystal balls and magical wands) were still being used thousands of years later by the “witte wieven” or wise women, the sibyls, seers, and female druids of Celtic, Anglo Saxon, and Norse traditions of the middle ages.
According to Max Dashu, author Witches and Pagans: Women in European Folk Religion, these “dream-readers, sooth-sayers, and herb-chanters, fire-gazers in Switzerland, or water-gazers in France and Spain”, practiced “all the elements of shamanism: chants, prophecy, healing, weather-making powers, and shapeshifting”. Legends tell of their sacred cauldrons in which “they simmered mysterious herbs to produce a drink of immortality and resurrection.”
These women were the guardians of the earth, the protectors of the sacred groves, lakes and springs, from which they derived their magical power. And until the middle ages they were highly respected, sought out and consulted for healing and divination by common folk, nobility and clergy alike.
But according to Barbara G. Walker , it was during the 14th century that the Catholic Church, during its relentless expansion and appropriation of sacred land, began to distinguish between witchcraft, perpetrated by women, and sorcery, a legitimate pursuit of men.
While books on sorcery were condoned well into the enlightenment, female witches in contrast were said to “magically injure crops, domestic animals, and people, and in general “outrage the Divine Majesty”. And thus their religious practices (as described by Dashu) of “sitting-out” on the land “gazing, listening, gathering wisdom” were extinguished by a priesthood that sought to bring nature, magic, women (not to mention their land and property) under male control.
These women did not go easily, or take usurpation of their holy sites and old ways lightly – it took the Church hundreds of years to hunt them down. And so it seems likely, at least to me, that the stereotype of vengeful witch, casting curses and blighting crop, was real, at least for the church. She must have been the original eco-feminist, fighting the patriarchy with one of most powerful tools at her disposal, magic. And the Church took it pretty seriously indeed.”
Read More here: https://gathervictoria.com/2016/10/23/reclaiming-the-radical-legacy-of-the-witch/
Witchcraft, Wicca, paganism, goddess-based spirituality. Whatever you want to call the practice of magic, it’s empowering women.
Enchantments is a New York City occult store (and home to three cats) that sells custom candles, incense, spiritual books, blended oils and other magical products. It’s also a place where both seasoned practitioners and people completely unfamiliar with magic come to seek answers.
COURTESY OF ENCHANTMENTS NYC
Stacy Rapp, a witch and the owner of Enchantments, says that the interest in witchcraft is increasing. While people of all genders are welcome in the community, Rapp said that women are particularly drawn to magic because of the gender equality inherent in the practice of witchcraft and the option to worship female deities. Goddess-based spirituality is also appealing to young queer and trans young people, who may feel unwelcome in other religious communities.
Ammo O’Day, an Enchantments employee, personal trainer and life coach, said that she came to witchcraft after rebelling against her Catholic upbringing.
“I was told I was going to hell because I’m a woman,” said O’Day, who spent 12 years in Catholic school. “I knew from a very young age that something was up… that everything I was taught about being female was incorrect.”
I spoke to Rapp about how she came to practice magic, stereotypes about witchcraft, and how she hopes to empower other women through education.
How did you start practicing witchcraft?
I started reading up on it when I was 14 or 15. I did a lot of research on my own into persecution in Salem and witchcraft trials. That was a way to subjugate independent, strong unmarried women in a puritanical society. Puritanical society’s attitudes towards women make even some of the most screwed-up attitudes towards women seem lax. My interest was always there. The more I learned, the more I saw the potential.
I’ve been working here at Enchantments for 15 years. I see the extreme potential to undo a lot of the negative… attitudes towards women, I guess, from traditional religion or from society or from culture. We get a lot of people coming in saying, OK, I was raised Christian, it’s just not working for me. There is nothing for women’s empowerment. There is nothing for strengthening, nothing saying, “This is gonna help you get through all of this.” There is nothing that teaches you how to deal with abusive people, with abusive men. And there is nothing for healing certain aspects of women, whether that’s their psyches, or a physical or emotional healing.
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What do you think the draw is, especially for people who may not have grown up knowing anything about this type of spiritual practice?
People are looking for a higher power that’s gonna be more like them, in their image. We do get a lot of guys, too, I’m not gonna say it’s female-centered at all. I think the biggest draw with witchcraft, unlike a lot of spiritual craft, is that it’s proactive. You have the ability to manifest positive change in your life. As opposed to thinking, if you pray really hard, maybe this will happen. It’s a lot more focused on working with the universe.
A lot of the stuff we deal with is love magic. Love and money, mostly. We’ve tried over the years to emphasize the fact that particularly with the love stuff, the most important place to start is with yourself. If you’re trying to attract positive people, you need to feel positive about yourself. I think, unfortunately, women are raised to see themselves not always as positive. That’s a cultural thing to some degree.
You’ve said that one of your major goals is to educate and empower women. How are you doing that?
A lot of what I’m extremely passionate about is empowering women, young women in particular. I have nieces now, and I don’t want them to grow up with the same stereotypes that I did, or my mom did. I want them to grow up to be strong independent women.
We do get a lot of young women [coming into the store] who are high school-age, who are trying to find themselves, trying to find their voice. They come in for education. It’s a lot more available because of the internet. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there too.
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What do people come in to Enchantments looking for?
We do deal with people wanting to put curses on others. We just don’t do it. That’s not what we’re about. We’re about self-improvement, empowerment, education, and helping people to better their own lives. To improve themselves, to improve their lives, to improve things for their family. It’s all about positive change.
There is a moral code to witchcraft. Hollywood and the media have focused on the lack of moral code that does exist in some people. That’s ultimately what creates scandal and spectacle and whatnot. But we don’t do the black magic… in the end result, it doesn’t help people. It actually hurts you.
What are some common misconceptions about witchcraft that you want to clear up?
Ah, the myths of witches, my favorite topic. A lot of [the stereotypes come from] fear. A lot of that comes from the rise of monotheism and the subjugation of women.
If you look at some of the witchcraft trials and persecutions in history, there were some men, but mostly women. Most of them were unmarried, they may have even been lesbians, they were healers, they were usually outspoken, very independent. The idea that if a woman is unmarried there must be something wrong with her.
If you look at certain cultures, you know, there is no difference between a witch and a medicine man or a shaman, except gender. And yet… they weren’t persecuted the same way. Witchcraft was a way to persecute women who were strong and outspoken in a time when women had no rights, and had no function other than to be baby machines. It was a way to keep women down, and keep women from rising to any sort of power.
Have people reacted negatively to you as a practitioner of magic?
I’ve been called all sorts of things over the years. We have people preaching outside [the store] sometimes saying we’re all going to hell, and I say “Thanks! Very productive.”
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Has it been hard to dispel stereotypes, and help people understand what your practice is actually about?
A lot of the stereotypes are Hollywood stereotypes, too. You can’t just snap your fingers and make something happen. You can’t float in the air, you can’t fly on a broom. Much as we would love to. In terms of changing people’s minds, a lot of that is positive press. Or word of mouth. And people are interested.
We explain what we do and say to other things, “That’s not what real witches do.” We turn down bullsh*t scandal stories. And there’s been a huge, huge push to educate people about what magic really is. It seems to work.