Boss Witch Fashion Friday: The 1960s Called, they Said You Can Keep Winged Eyeliner.

HAPPY FRIDAY, Boss Witches! This week has been a toughie for me, professionally and PhD-speaking. But we all have sh*tty weeks, don’t we? And the best way to move past that is to whack on some winged eyeliner, get some volume into our hair and throw back to possibly the chic-est of decades: the 1960s.

Elizabeth Montgomery wears a Witch’s hat as Samantha Stevens in Bewitched.

Now, do the 1960s have much to do with Witches, you ask? F*CK YES, they do. Not only in the witchy vibes that were abundant during the time, but also in some modern throwbacks, like The Love Witch and even Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which is basically living in a 1960s time warp. But let us begin with the classics, and enjoy this luscious, colour-filled yet black-filled journey through psychadelic Witchery.

Bewitched

Elizabeth Montgomery wears a flowing black gown and green cape while death-staring her husband, Darrin.

Ah, Samantha. Back in the day, Bewitched was on every day in the afternoon, and I definitely enjoyed it. I knew that I wasn’t capable of wiggling my nose and flying lamps across the hallway, but I still admired Samantha, who was, let’s face it, kind of a feminist badass. We also had Endora, who was a bit of a Witch Purist, but her outfits were fabulous, weren’t they?

Agnes Moorhead as Endora in Bewitched.

There have been talks of a Bewitched remake in the works, but the series was shelved during the last pilot season. We can hold hope, though, and word on the street is that the remake will feature a Black actor as Samantha, which is f*cking awesome, so let’s hope it comes to fruition.

Key takeaways from Bewitched: bell sleeves, puffy nightgowns, set hair, epic green or blue eye makeup, winged liner, bouffants, capes, ladylike pencil skirts and, of course, a set of pearls.

Lily Munster

Okay, Lily Munster isn’t technically a Witch. She’s a vampire. So let’s get that little hiccup out of the way. But we need to pay homage to her distinctly Witchy aesthetic.

Lily was originally played by Yvonne de Carlo, and was briefly going to be resurrected (ha) by Portia de Rossi in 2012, but the reboot ultimately got canned. SHAME.

Key takeaways from The Munsters: two-toned long hair, baby pink/blue/green edged with black lace, serious f*cking eyebrow game, ribbon amulets.

Morticia Addams

Carolyn Jones as Morticia Addams.

Look, I’m not sure if Morticia has ever actually been defined as a Witch, but she raised carnivorous plants and played the shamisen, so I’m going to go with, she’s a f*cking Witch.

Unlike Lily Munster, Morticia basically embodied rich-people Witch vibes, with a gothic yet sophisticated aesthetic, endless glamour and the countenance of a saint. Portrayed initially by Carolyn Jones and later by Anjelica Huston, Morticia and her offspring, Wednesday Addams, have inspired generations of Witches with their all-black-everything style.

Key takeaways from Morticia Addams: floor-length black gowns, bell/handkerchief sleeves, widow’s peak hair, luscious long black locks, strong brow game, winged eyeliner and dainty silver pendants.

The Love Witch

Samantha Robinson as Elaine in The Love Witch.

2017’s film The Love Witch is a masterpiece in the recreation of 1960s technicolour resplendence. In it, we see Elaine (played by Samantha Robinson) channeling go-go glamour as she accidentally kills her lovers when her spells go awry. Anna Biller is the director of this passion project, and I have to say, there is so much sartorial inspiration in this film it’s almost obscene. Get thee to it.

via GIPHY

Key takeaways from The Love Witch: winged eyeliner, bright blue eyeshadow, red nails, go-go miniskirts, fabulous technicolour hats, black lingerie, red gowns, casual beehives, candy-pop pink, and enormous costume jewellery.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Kiernan Shipka in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
Miranda Otto in a promo picture for Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

As Riverdale harks back to the 1950s glory of milkshakes, burgers and high ponies, so does Chilling Adventures of Sabrina bring us a 1960s horror-inspired witch coven. Between Sabrina’s cutesy preppy skirts and headbands and Zelda’s set hair and black widow vibes, this show gives all the vintage goods, even though it’s contemporary as f*ck. We’re talking pencil skirts, preppy vibes, and a good dose of dark Audrey Hepburn here.

Key takeaways from Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: wiggle dresses, perfect waves in the hair, big sunglasses, veils and headscarves, vests, high-buttoned collars, high heels, form-fitting two-pieces and flared 1950s skirts.

In conclusion, the 1960s were a golden age for Witches. We had the makeup, the getup and the hair, and we were all kind of fabulous. Samantha Stevens could swan around in that ridiculous nightie and still be a babe. And I think we all deserve some of that glamour in our lives.

Here is another little gem: Wanda the Witch advertising hairspray. ENJOY!

So I wish you a weekend of excellent sartorial choices, Witches, and I’ll see you on Monday!

Blessings,

xxK

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Do Witches Pray?

When I was at secondary school, I was in a pretty religious environment. I went to Presbyterian and Church of England schools that brought us to chapel services weekly, had their own ministers/vicars, had compulsory religion classes and encouraged us to follow a certain doctrine. As I’ve said before, the only time I remember being really in trouble at school was when I was caught with Tarot cards and was told I was summoning the Devil.

The Empress card of the Tarot deck.

I did veer towards those churches and youth groups – all of my friends were pretty heavily involved and I got to front a (Christian) band at the weekly services at the big church. But I knew for many reasons that this religion was not for me – it wasn’t calling me, and I disagreed with too many of its principles. Despite the heavy feeling in my gut that this was wrong for me, I remained in the church (quietly, hiding who I was) for a good few years.

But as my knowledge grew and I started to discover my own faith and spirituality, which was centred deeply on nature, the Earth and the Moon, I realised that it was never the doctrine of Christianity that held me in that community. It was the idea that I was chasing, of deep peace found from prayer or belief that there was a higher power. And I found that elsewhere.

I think that ‘prayer’ is a concept that many limit to Christian churches, Synagogues, Temples and Mosques. But ultimately, what is prayer? It’s the act of quietly speaking to the higher power, sharing your fears and handing yourself over to them. So is that different from meditation? Or setting an altar to the Goddess?

A person with white hair sits in an old brick church flooded with pink and yellow light.

I’ve come to realise that ‘prayer’ is not just the act of ‘communing with God’. It’s the act of reflection, of sharing with Spirit (whoever or whatever that may be for you) and accepting that you are not alone walking in this world. Whether it’s the Goddess you pray to, or Mother Mary, or God, or just the Universe – I think we need to reclaim the concept of Prayer to mean whatever it means to us on a personal level. Some Witches are Catholic – this is a strong tradition, often passed down in a hereditary line. If we watch The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, that coven attends the Church of Night and worships the Dark Lord (tongue in cheek though that series is, and very well done). Prayer and Witchcraft are, by their very natures, intertwined.

The pentagram with candles lit at the elements of Air, Water, Earth and Fire, and a candle lit in the centre.

For me, prayer is meditation, is casting a circle and throwing myself into the hands of the Universe, gazing at the Moon (and charging crystals and jars of water underneath her), of lighting incense and practising gratitude. All of this brings me peace, tranquility, relaxation, relief from anxiety. And, ultimately, that’s what prayer should be.

Reading the Tarot will no longer get me detention. Now, I feel empowered and I enjoy using it to shed light on issues that I might not be willing to face myself. I use it to confirm suspicions, direct my path, and reassure me when I’m not 100% convinced I’ve made the right choice. And anyone who practises the Tarot will know that feeling of understanding – this is too powerful to be a coincidence. It must come from Something Else.

A person in a long dress stands with their hands in prayer towards the blue and yellow sky.

Do you pray? Or use Tarot or spellcraft as prayer?

Blessings,

xxK

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Witchcraft Wednesday: 3 Simple Spells (No Witchy Gear Required)

Happy Witchcraft Wednesday! I’ve decided that every Wednesday, I’ll post about witchcraft, whether it’s a spell, a relaxation recording, an activity or even something crafty. The whole point of this blog is to make witchcraft more accessible every day for every person – which is why today, we’re focusing on 3 simple spells that do not require you to have an altar, ten different candles, herb bundles, resins, a wand, thirty crystals or a black cat.

A person with red hair is surrounded by light in the woods, floating off the ground.

When I began on this journey, I certainly did not have the money to buy every single item that I wished I could. Even now, I don’t have that kind of capital. I’m sort of a minimalist Witch by accident for the most part. Even though I love my Witch Kit, I can’t afford to put everything in it that I would like.

The good news is, you don’t need all of those things to be a practising Witch. As I’ve said before, the main thing is your intention. You don’t have to cast spells every day, and you don’t have to have a full set of essential oils and animal bone dust and all that jazz. You just need yourself, your intention and your concentration.

So, without further ado, let’s do some spellwork.

Let’s Get Set Up

An old weather vane.

First things first: set the scene. Turn your phone off or onto Airplane mode. We don’t want any distractions during this spellwork. If you have a candle, light it, otherwise just sort out some mood lighting, even if that’s switching a lamp on and turning the big, unforgiving light off. Same goes for incense – not necessary, but by all means, make it smell good in there.

Now, face the East and say, “Spirit of the East, of the Air, I call on you. Hail and Welcome.”

Turn to the South and say, “Spirit of the South, of Fire, I call on you. Hail and Welcome.”

Turn to the West and say, “Spirit of the West, of the Water, I call on you. Hail and Welcome.”

Turn to the North and say, “Spirit of the North, of the Earth, I call on you. Hail and Welcome.”

Stay facing the North, and greet the Goddess and the God (if you like). Now your circle is cast, and you’re ready to begin your Witching.

Closing the Circle

A lit green candle.

When you’ve finished your spellwork, we’re going to thank the Spirits and close the circle. We do this in the reverse order to the opening. So:

Turn to the North and say, “Goddess and God, thank you for being with me. Hail and farewell.”

Stay facing the North: “Spirit of the North, of the Earth, thank you for your presence. Hail and farewell.”

Facing the West: “Spirit of the West, of Water, thank you for your presence. Hail and farewell.”

Facing the South: “Spirit of the South, of Fire, thank you for your presence. Hail and farewell.”

Facing the East: “Spirit of the East, of the Air, thank you for your presence. Hail and farewell.”

1. A Simple Spell for Manifestation

A fountain pen rests on paper with writing on it, along with some rose petals.

I love manifestation spells, mostly because it helps me to focus my attention towards visualisation and imagination. For this little spell, we are going to need:

  • A pen or pencil
  • A piece of paper

That’s it! Super simple kit list there, everybody.

Cast your circle, as above, and then sit down inside your circle with your pen and paper. I want you to close your eyes, and truly visualise what it is that you are manifesting. That means I want you to see yourself already having that thing. Whether it’s money, or love – feel how it would feel to be living with that. What does it feel like? What does it smell like? What does it look like? Spend some time meditating on this. I want you to live it. When you’ve got it 100% down in your mind’s eye, open your eyes and write down your manifestation on the paper:

Thank you Universe/Goddess/Spirit for the abundance you provide. I thank you for the <INSERT YOUR MANIFESTATION> that you have gifted me.

Write it three times, concentrating. Use your best, most focused handwriting.

When you’re done, fold up the paper into a neat bundle. I like using an envelope fold, but you can fold it however you wish.

Now, meditate again on that paper.

Open your eyes, and place that paper somewhere safe – into jewellery box, beside your bed, or into a bowl. Put it somewhere you’ll see it, so that you can bring it back to mind every day.

Close your circle.

2. A Cleansing Ritual

A stone bath tub in a bathroom by a window. A robe hangs on the wall.

I love baths, and cleansing rituals are a great way to meditate and clear ourselves of negative energy. This spell uses a bathtub, but if you don’t have a tub, just substitute your shower.

For this spell, you need:

  • A bath or shower
  • Some bathsalts (use whatever you have – if you have essential oils, go for it, and if you have herbs or flowers you want to add – go for it).

If you have a candle, light it – if not, don’t worry.

While you run the bath, imagine yourself cleaning away the negative energies you’ve accumulated. These could be from negative people, or stressful situations, or just general bad vibes. Think about those energies leaving your body.

Get into the bath, and close your eyes. Relax. Either out loud or in your mind, say,

“With this water I wash away the negative energies within and upon me.”

A bath caddy holding bath bombs, salts in a glass jar, a glass bottle and sponges and soaps.

Now, mindfully wash yourself with the salted water, picturing those bad vibes washing away and disappearing in the water like a bath bomb. Fizzing out.

Sit back and relax for a while – with each inhale, imagine a clean, bright light coming into your body and eating away at anything negative. With each exhale, picture those negative energies leaving your body. Maybe they’re a black mist, or maybe they are a dark red smoke. Breathe it all out.

When you feel like you’re all squeaky clean inside and out, your spell is complete. Give thanks, and go about your evening.

*Now is a great time for a meditation session or further spellwork – I often do this after a bath because my mind is in the right place*

3. Basic Kitchen Witchery – Cooking With Love

Fresh fettuccine pasta with the ingredients sit on a wooden benchtop.

Another thing I love to do is to use cooking to cast spells. I don’t mean by adding anything in particular, although I do love cooking with sage and rosemary. Once again, this is all about intention and mindful cooking.

While you prepare a meal, focus on your intention. For example, say your partner is having a bad day, and you want to fill them with ease and love. While you’re preparing the food, focus all your attention on pushing love and comfort into the food. I’m talking about every step here – while you’re washing, peeling, chopping, frying, boiling a kettle – every single step.

Cream and yellow custard desserts topped with flowers and mint leaves.

Take deep breaths and enjoy the process. Feel that love and comfort within yourself. By the time you serve that food to your partner/friend/mother – all of that beautiful energy will be infused in each bite of the meal. While you eat, give thanks, and enjoy the love.

This doesn’t have to be a fancy meal, either – it works just as well with beans on toast as it does with homemade pasta.

What are your most simple spells? I’d love to hear about them. Contact me to get in touch!

Blessings, Witches,

xxK

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Mercury Retroshade: We’re Not Out of Danger Yet

This 2019 Mercury Retrograde in Scorpio has been a doozy. Everyone I know, even non-believers, have experienced travel delays, electrical problems, technological fails, had exes pop up out of the blue after 20 years… it’s been a time. Now that we’re approaching November 20th, you might be tempted to start feeling relieved – you made it through the Retrograde! But be warned: Retroshade is a thing.

What is Retroshade?

As you may have noticed, leading up to the Mercury Retrograde there was a short period of around 2 weeks when things started to get a little sticky. Little faults, little glitches, that sort of thing. And then the Retrograde hits and everyone battens down the hatches and hides out for a few weeks, right? During the Retrograde, we are warned not to make real estate deals, or sign business contracts, or contact an ex or old friend, or anything like that. But directly after the Retrograde, we have what is known as the Retroshade, which is sort of like the cool-down period.

A white and brown art deco lampshade.

Before and after the Retrograde, we experience ‘shadowing’ periods, which are kind of like the pre and after parties of the shift. During these times we get a taster of the full-blown Retrograde effects, like slight glitches or pickles, or little hints of problems in the areas affected by the shift, like travel, communication, business and interpersonal relationships.

So what can I do?

During this two-week period, take advantage of the cooling-off of the full Retro feels to assess what you have learned from this time. Have you re-thought some business decisions that you were about to make? Has something become a little more clear in your relationship? Has something come up that you thought was resolved but actually needs a little more attention?

An old pink dial-up telephone.

During this time, it’s still not a great idea to make any huge decisions or sign legal paperwork. Additionally, you could still benefit from keeping your distance from interpersonal drama and sticky situations. But it’s a great time to review your own status in work and at home, and see if there’s anything you might work on once this Retroshade period is over. Now is the time for reflection, working on our relationships and taking good care of ourselves. We need to be mindful of our feelings and aware that we might still be a little sensitive after the bashery of Retrograde. So get out your journal, work on some self-care spells and take a little extra time to meditate and be kind to yourself.

What can I learn?

A person with red hair and freckles closes their eyes.

Leave the heavy work-lifting until early December, Witches – for now, just take care of you and yours, and pay extra attention to your feelings and the feelings of the important people in your life. It’s a good idea to take a look over any paperwork, assignments or writing you did during the Retrograde period and check it for mistakes, errors or anything that’s been missed. Double check any travel bookings you’ve made, and check in with your friends and family. Mercury Retrograde has lessons to teach us, so make the most of it. It doesn’t all have to be doom and gloom – it’s time to clear house.

Oh – and don’t answer unknown numbers.

Blessings,

xxK

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Productivity: Break It Down

One of the best pieces of advice I have in terms of productivity is to break it down. There’s nothing more confronting than a huge to-do list, especially when it includes things like, “WRITE CHAPTER”. That’s not helpful to anyone, Witches.

A person wearing pale blue trousers rests their feet.

When we have full schedules and full lists of sh*t to do, it can be incredibly overwhelming. What happens when we get overwhelmed? We panic, we don’t do any of it, and we binge watch an entire season of something on Netflix or Prime. Then it starts that awful cycle of guilt, more panic, more sh*t to do, a longer list, and more binge-watching. We stop sleeping. We start panicking. Our anxiety gets worse and nothing gets done – all while the list keeps growing.

Bite-size pieces are the key. Instead of telling yourself to write a chapter of your thesis/book/novel, break that chapter down into tasks.

Working with Pomodoro

Seven tomatoes in a triangle formation.

The Pomodoro Technique breaks tasks and working down into short bursts of around 25 minutes. It goes like this: you set the timer for 25 minutes, and you do nothing but focus on one task for that 25 minutes. When the timer goes off, you take a 5 minute break, and then you do it again. The idea is that you will get more done in these focused blocks of time without the distraction of your phone or TV or the internet. When we break things down into manageable sections of sh*t to do, we are more able to achieve those tasks. That, in turn, leads to us actually being able to tick sh*t off the list, which makes us feel like we are achieving, which then makes us feel good, which makes us more driven to do more sh*t.

A black planner reads “Productivity”. It sits on a white desk with a pink notebook, a glass bottle and a white computer keyboard.

For me, as a bullet journaller, I like to pre-plan my tasks. For example, if I need to read a book on case studies (ahem), I don’t just write, “read book” on my list. I break it down into chapters, figure out how many chapters I can read in 25 minutes, and then allocate accordingly. Then I prep some little boxes in my bujo so I can colour them in when I’ve done each Pomodoro section. See? That way, you can physically see progress.

It’s the same principle as tracking your likes on Instagram, or keeping a chart of your savings. When you can see progress, it drives you. It makes you yearn for more progress. It makes us feel accomplished and warm and fuzzy.

Exercise:

Take a big job that has been hanging over your head, something from your Fear List (more on this another day). Look at the job and break it up into its different parts. For example, say your goal was to get your driver’s licence.

A vintage pink toy car sits on a white surface with fairy lights behind it.

Task 1: find out steps to get licence (1 Pomodoro)
Task 2: Fill out paperwork (1 Pomodoro)
Task 3: Schedule driving lessons (1 Pomodoro)
Task 4: Work out cost of licence (1 Pomodoro)
Task 5: Study handbook (6 Pomodoros)

And so on.

In this way, you can see visually your progress and you can visualise yourself getting closer to having your licence. Colour in your progress blocks or tick off a list or give yourself a sweet for each Pomodoro you complete – whatever it is that works for you. Encourage yourself – make it easier for yourself.

A person’s hand sits on a laptop while the other holds a journal. A cup of coffee sits next to the laptop.

Being overwhelmed can lead to not getting anything done, and that makes you feel sh*tty about yourself. Don’t feel sh*tty. You are a badass Boss Witch, and you’ve got this.

What are your productivity hacks?

Blessings,

xxK

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Boss Witch Fashion Friday: Hail to the Guardians of the Watchtower of the ’90s.

HAPPY FRIDAY, WITCHES!

It’s been a WEEK and then some, so it’s time to kick back, relax and talk about the thing that really brought us all here: the witch movies/shows of the 1990s.

Once upon a time, a little film called The Craft premiered and turned every teenaged and tweenaged girl into a choker-wearing, miniskirt and white t-shirt sporting wannabe WitchyPoo. While the ’90s aren’t generally like the pinnacle of fashion, there was a certain charm to them that certainly, as I have aged, I have begun to appreciate. Apart from anything else, it brought us this goth-chick, maroon lipstick situation that a lot of us still feel and wear to this day (guilty).

And then we had the Sisters Halliwell, of Charmed fame, who brought us everyday Witch realness in the form of conservatie Piper, Prue of the endless chokers (RIP Prue), rebellious Phoebe and newcomer, Paige, who, let’s face it, really rocked the whole satin cami situation that plagued us for so long.

I’m going to skirt over Sabrina the Teenage Witch for our purposes here because nobody wants to relive those costumes, everybody.

Then of course we have Practical Magic, which I just realised deserves a serious re-watch, because Nicole and Sandra is kind of an amazing combination. Also, we can’t forget Willow of Buffy, because even though she didn’t have a big coven, she still stuck to the RULES.

Let’s break down the basics of ’90s Witch Fashion. You’re welcome.

The Choker

Everybody needs a choker to be a ’90s Witch. It can be made of velvet, satin, cord, lace – basically anything so long as it’s black, dark red or dark purple. Maybe dark green. But don’t be bringing blue into it. Don’t try for white, either – we’re dark, serious Witches, okay?

Miniskirts

We’re talking plaid, we’re talking tartan, we’re talking plain black, we’re talking wearing them with thigh-high boots or socks, and we’re talking wearing them on our waists, not on our hips. They are short, they are pleated, or they are straight, or they are A-line. There are not really any rules on shape here – we’re just talking short and high and dark.

Velvet and Satin

We’re loving our tactile textiles in the ’90s, Witches. Satin camisoles (the type with boob holders built in and spaghetti straps), velvet dresses in green, black, red, purple (DARK), lace edging on everything (black only, thank you). Belly tops. Velvet jackets. So much velvet.

<< Here we have Alyson Hannigan sporting a red velvet dress, because of course.

Here is Nicole Kidman rocking a green velvet dress>>

All Leather Everything

A leather jacket is a Very Important Item in any ’90s Witch’s closet. It can be in just about any colour so long as it’s black, brown or red. BUT we cannot forget that this is the ’90s, so we also wear leather trousers, skirts, and maybe even dresses. Jackets can be long or short. They are probably not actually leather.

Floral Dresses

Maybe you’re not into the leather and darkness look. That’s okay – you can still be a ’90s Witch. We’re going to do the long, floral dress. It’s billowy, it’s probably too long or just not long enough, stuck at a weird in-between phase before midi dresses were a thing. We might do buttons all the way down the front – almost certainly we’re going to do spaghetti straps or those weird straps that aren’t actually spaghetti straps but also are not a tank top strap.

We’re going to layer the sh*t out of this dress, whether it needs it or not. We’re going to do jackets and boots and probably tights, maybe a t-shirt underneath it. Enjoy – this is the most comfortable of the ’90s Boss Witch items.

The Boots

We’ve got to finish this outfit off, and we’re going to do it with boots. Whether it’s summer, spring, autumn or winter, we are wearing boots. Chunky boots, with buckles or big block heels, up to our ankles or maybe above the knee. Or pointy and Victorian – with loads of buttons or laces. Here is an image from our seminal film, The Craft:

In conclusion, the ’90s were very excellent for Witches. The fashion trends that emerged during that glorious, golden period of Witch films and television are still with us today. I know we still all love a blood-red lip and who doesn’t love chucking on a billowing cotton dress? And the best thing about layering t-shirts under tank tops is, you don’t have to shave your armpits (not that you have to anyway, I haven’t in weeks and I’m owning the sh*t out of it).

Have a dark and twisty weekend, Witches.

Blessings,

xxK

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What is Magic to You?

I’ve had people make fun of me for believing in magic. Anyone who believes in magic will experience that at some point – it’s the same as the clash between religion and science – how can two things exist that are counter-intuitive?

Last night someone said to me that, “Science is magic that has been proven, and magic is science that hasn’t.” Or something along those lines. It makes sense, though – think of all the things that have been ‘discovered’ scientifically in just the past 50 years. Those things would have been considered magical a time ago.

A person with long, blonde hair reads a book in a field. Magical sparks fly from the book.

I’ve always believed that magic was possible, and that it exists. We know that, as humans, there are parts of our brains that we don’t necessarily access or use to the heights of their ability. And if you have ever practised meditation, you’ll understand me when I say that that moment, that first time when you ‘get it’, it feels like magic. For the first time, your brain has experienced true stillness. Of course, then you realise you’re ‘doing’ it, and then it’s broken. But that first moment is still special.

Other forms of magic could be things like the fact that I ran Jessie a bath last night and I put full moon water and essential oils in it, spoke some words over it, and didn’t tell her. So when she came out of the bath and her injury was feeling a lot better, we couldn’t explain it. Is it just the thought of magic, the sort of placebo effect? Well, I’d ask – does it actually matter?

A glass jar with a cork in it sits amid purple wildflowers in the grass. Some flowers are also inside the bottle.

What does ‘magic’ mean? Is it just something we can’t explain? Or is it something otherworldly? I would argue that magic is perhaps just using the power of the mind. If we look at anything – manifestation, meditation, abundance mindsets, even holistic remedies – isn’t that magic? But isn’t it also science?

Meditation makes me calmer, clearer and happier. That’s science, and it’s magic. I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive. Casting a spell is not that far off from using an abundance mindset to achieve your goals and dreams. We are using our brains and minds to essentially will something into or out of existence/presence.

Personally, I believe that there is Something that is bigger than us. The Universe, or Spirit, or God/dess – whatever you want to call it. I think that the fact that our planet sustains such complex ecosystems and sprouts flowers in spring is magical. I think the fact that two people can be thinking of each other at the same exact second is magical. I believe that the Universe plays jokes on us (like teaching us to be specific when we are manifesting), and that sometimes things that are meant for us will find us, no matter what. Kismet, serendipity – what Pam Grossman calls, ‘the trail of cosmic breadcrumbs’ – it’s all magical to me, and it works in conjunction with the scientific basis for our existence. Do I believe that the Christian God created the Earth? No. Do I believe that something did, and for a reason? Absolutely.

An artistic black and white photograph of a person with long dark hair leaning backwards on a sofa. Repeated images of the person fade in their wake.

When we are children, we believe in Santa Claus, and fairies, and that our stuffed animals have feelings and are listening to us. I still think my stuffed rabbit has a soul, and that’s just how I feel about it. What happens to us that plants that cynicism within our minds, that tells us that science and magic are mutually exclusive?

I don’t know that I’ll ever have all the answers on this one, but I want to hear from you:

What does Magic mean to you?

Blessings,

xxK

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Being a Solitary Witch

I’ve never been part of a coven. I’ve never even had anyone to practise with, apart from my very forgiving partner who participates with me on occasion. I can remember being a young woman of about 16, drawn completely towards witchcraft, but without any kind of access to information about it. I went to high school in a small city of about 20,000 people, where we had one bookshop which most certainly did not carry books on the occult.

I was in there one day, desperately perusing the one shelf of vaguely spiritual books, when a complete stranger walked up to me and said, “Something is telling me that you need to read Scott Cunningham.” I thanked her, and went home and booted up the old dial-up internet and googled it. There it was, sure enough – Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner. And the price tag on it was eye-watering. I didn’t have a job or anything – I made $30 a week teaching music and sold some jewellery occasionally, but this was a whole new level. Books are really expensive in Australia, or at least, they were back then.

Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner by [Cunningham, Scott]
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wicca-Solitary-Practitioner-Scott-Cunningham/dp/0875421180/ref=as_sl_pc_tf_til?tag=onebosswitch-21&linkCode=w00&linkId=a671eb74ab95224e06fa98430f0ac44f&creativeASIN=0875421180

It was over a year until I got my hands on that book. I was in Melbourne, where there was a witchy shop in the city. I was so excited to go, and I was not disappointed. I did feel a bit out of place – it was super shiny and lush in the store, and I was a 17 year old hippie with long hair. I wanted just about everything in that shop but I had just enough money to cover that book. I got home and I completely devoured it, cover to cover, many times. And you know what? I was overwhelmed. I thought I didn’t have the access I needed or the information or support system to ‘do this’ properly. I did always refer back to that book, but to be honest, I drifted away from it a little bit out of fear. I carried it every time I moved (which was a lot) and always saw that book calling out to me.

Now, we’re talking about 2004 here. The internet existed but it was nothing like the internet we have and know now. There weren’t so many opportunities to connect with people and see how others practise and live as Witches. I learned how to cast a circle, and I learned how to do basic things, but I will admit that I gave up, essentially.

Throughout my adulthood since, I’ve always identified as ‘a bit Witchy’. And I have always loved candles and crystals and incense. I meditated, I used aromatherapy and I believed wholeheartedly in holistic remedies and healing. I got into gut health. But it wasn’t until the last couple of years that I realised the only person holding me back from living as fully as I wanted to, as a practising Witch, was myself.

A person lights a piece of paper on fire. A candle burns next to it.

These days, being a solitary Witch is much easier, because we’re not really alone. We can connect with other people on Instagram and Facebook, and there are millions of websites out there. I can quickly google a herb if I don’t know what to use, and there are hundreds of spells and incantations, rituals and meditations that I can access for free. And I want you to know that there is nothing wrong with googling things. That’s what it’s there for. And there is no ‘wrong’ way to Witch.

These days, I have no idea where my Scott Cunningham book is, but I think I’ll buy another copy for the good old days.

A person in a white dress stands under an open sky.

And to anyone out there scraping their pennies together for a paperback – do it. You’ll love it. But also make the most of the beauties of the worldwide web and the fact that you can access information with a click and a type for free.

Reach out to other practitioners – let’s build this community and make it more readily accessible to everyone. I know I love my spirituality, and I find a lot of comfort and strength and empowerment in it. You can, too.

Blessings,

xxK

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PhDs and Calming Teas: Practical Self-Care Tips for People Who Have Way Too Much Sh*t On Their Plates

Don’t worry, this isn’t a poem. Despite working a bit with rhyming when it comes to my own spellwork, I’m not really into writing poetry on the whole. I like reading (some of) it.

I realised that I haven’t touched much on what it’s like to be doing a PhD, which I’m sure a lot of you will be familiar with. A lot of PhDs are in the science and mathematical fields, but mine is pure research and writing. Since it’s sociological, there’s no lab work. I did my interviews in LA last year and the data collection phase was over just like that. Now it’s time for the write-up and I wanted to address the physical/mental/emotional side of PhD research life.

A white notepad covered in flower petals next to a teacup filled with coffee beans.

It’s a lonely business writing a PhD thesis. I see my supervisors once or twice a month, and apart from that, I’m mostly by myself. That means that apart from the deadlines, I don’t really have anyone to be accountable to, and that makes it difficult to get sh*t done. Add into the mix a fairly difficult year health-wise and Generalised Anxiety Disorder, and you’ve got a tricky mix.

But that doesn’t mean it’s all a nightmare. I love my PhD research – that’s why I’m doing it. Lots of people have suggested to me that I give it up, and I know I don’t have to finish it. Trust me. But there’s a reason I started it, a reason I chose my research subject and a reason I’m still here, trying to finish it despite a sh*tty year and, if I’m honest, often losing the will to get it done and dusted. I’m passionate about it.

But doing a PhD is not easy, and if you also work or have other projects going on, it is a LOT to manage in one lifetime. So this is my little segway into a little something I like to call:

Practical Self-Care Tips for People Who Have Way Too Much Sh*t On Their Plates

A pile of opened books in the grass.

There are a lot of self-care guides for PhD researchers, and that is wonderful. But most of them say sh*t like, ‘go for a walk’ and ‘eat a healthy diet’. Those things are wonderful and super helpful in general, but when the earth feels like it’s closing in on you and you’re never, ever going to get this sh*t done, and maybe you should have become an accountant instead, or a salesperson, going for a walk is not the be-all and end-all answer.

Instead, I propose the Witchy version.

1. Acknowledge how much you have achieved already

It’s so easy to get sucked into looking only at what you need to achieve, and not what you have already ticked off your never-ending to-do list. So take a few minutes to reward yourself with a hot bath and some Me Time, and congratulate yourself on all the kickass things you have done. You are a fucking badass Witch.

2. Take a f*cking day off

A collection of white, pink and green bath bombs filled with flower petals.

It’s not a competition, everyone. If you’re like me, your list of sh*t to get done is epic, which means that you can easily spread it out over days and days, and before you know it, you’ve assigned yourself an academic book to read ON A SUNDAY. Take at least one day each week OFF. Like, off-off. Schedule nothing to do with your job, your PhD/other commitments or literally anything that feels like “should do” stuff instead of “want to do” stuff. Give yourself a day of “want to do”, even if that’s sleeping and watching reality television shows and eating chips. Cast some spells. Knit. Do whatever the f*ck you want. It’s your day.

3. Find other people who understand what you’re going through

A white marble table. Two people’s hands clasp their cups of tea.

Some people have really connected departments where all the postgraduate students know and support each other and keep in touch and have activities to do together. Some people don’t. I made some lovely friends in the first couple of years of my PhD research, and then they graduated. Because I don’t like driving 2 hours round-trip to work from my laptop in the PGR office instead of just saving the 2 hours and doing the same thing at home, I don’t really go in anymore, which means I don’t know any of the other PGRs. As a solution to this problem, I took myself to a postgraduate symposium day in another city, where I met other people researching similar things to my own research. And that not only rekindled my passion for my work, it also gave me a connection to new people who understand what it’s like to do a PhD, and to whom I could talk about this sh*t. De-isolate yourself.

4. Don’t beat yourself up

A person raises their hands above their head.

There seems to be a culture in academia of out-shaming ourselves and others. Like this whole “I should be writing” thing. Yeah, of course – we ‘should’ all be doing lots of things. But if you spend the whole day panicking about what a sh*t job you’re doing, guess what? You’re not going to write anything good, anyway, so it’s a f*cking bust all around. Be kind to yourself, FFS. Have a cup of calming tea. Drink some wine. Meditate, get some sleep, and then get up tomorrow and try again.

5. Reward yourself

I touched on this up in point 2, but this is on another level. You know how, at work, you get rewards if you do good stuff? Like promotions or pay rises or work parties or whatever? Give yourself a party. Whether that’s an actual party, or just going to dinner with your best friend, or taking a weekend to go away, or even just cooking your favourite meal and enjoying a lush bottle of wine with your partner – reward yourself. Even when you haven’t achieved the ticking off of every single item on your to-do list. Set achievable milestones for yourself that you know are possible – that way, you’re not setting yourself up to fail.

A large platter of fruit, crackers and dips on a table surrounded by other plates of food and bottles.

Obviously, I’m not the perfect PhD student. I’m not the perfect anything. I am better at giving advice than taking it. But these are the things I know to be true and helpful. For me, I also find my Witchcraft Practice to be a welcome relief, as well.

If there are any other Boss Witches out there on their PhD journey, I’d love to hear about it.

Have a wonderful full moon tonight!

Blessings,

xxK

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November Snow Moon: What Does it Mean?

Beavers are very cute, do not set traps for them. Two beavers emerge from the water.

What do Witches do on a full moon? You might know that we have one coming up (Tuesday 12th November). This time around, we have the ‘Frost’, ‘Snow’ or ‘Beaver’s’ Moon. That sounds bizarre, doesn’t it? But traditionally, this was the time to set beaver traps. Please don’t do that. Beavers are beautiful, wonderful creatures and, although I don’t know you, I don’t think you know how to use their fur to make clothes to protect your naked body from the snow. So please, just don’t.

Anyway, what does the Frost Moon bring us?

Image by Mario Aranda from Pixabay
A skull, a dagger and a key and ring sit by old leatherbound books, lit by a candle.

This is a time for protection spells. I love me a protection spell. You can stick it in a jar, you can manifest some protection or ask your spirit guides for some extra guidance. Use candle magic/k, run a special bath and get your crystals charging, Witches.

The November Snow Moon is, as Sacred Wicca states, “a time of grounding, preparation and transformation. Work magick that will strengthen your communication with the Goddess or God that seems closest to you.” I know that a lot of Witches feel connected to one particular Goddess or God, but don’t panic if you’re not feeling that. I just work with the Goddess, mostly – by which I mean Mother Earth / Gaia, the world that I can see and feel. I’m doing more research and I would love to write a blog on the Norse Goddess Freyja one day, but for now, I’m happy just to commune with the generic Goddess that is the World.

Two glass bottles sit in front of a fireplace. They have a handwritten label that says, ‘sloe and vanilla gin’.

So, this is a time to prepare ourselves for Winter. It’s going to be a cold one (unless you’re in my motherland, Australia, in which case you’re preparing for Summer, lucky Witches). It’s time to remind ourselves that, despite the Mercury Retrograde that has been running amuck, we are babies of the Earth, and we need to connect with that. Ground yourself, feel connected – protect yourself from harmful entities, feelings, vibrations, energies and people. Now is a time to cleanse and start getting ready for the colder months so we can go into them, eyes wide open, ready for the dark period before Spring comes back to warm us again. In the meantime, get cosy and warm, start those winter stews and try to enjoy this cuddly time of year.

I’m loving this blog and sharing this journey with you all. I’d love to hear from you, so please contact me if you have any post requests or questions. I also welcome pointers and advice from more experienced Witches because we are always learning.

What do you have prepared for the Snow Moon?

Blessings

xxK

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