Channeling Change

astrology, Mundane Magic, Tarot

Gemini season is upon us. Astrologically speaking, it’s the prime time for mental fluidity, inspiration, experimentation, innovation and change. As a magician, I use those same aspects of Gemini to peel away layers of ambiguity and illusion from all of my spell work. Everything from rituals in space I make sacred to conversations I have with total strangers: when invoked with intention, the potential for expansion right now is limitless.

The best part of astrology magic? It’s power is omnipresent. As the physical sun shines in the sky overhead, the astrological sun beams energy down through the lens of whatever zodiac sign is above us on the ecliptic. Similar to white light glowing through a stained glass window, that light shifts it’s form into whatever colors are present. It illuminates and gives life to the artwork it travels through.

Solaris spotlights Gemini from May 21st through June 20th. This flavor of Universal life-force is gifted to all of our lungs, all of our eyes, all of our souls for the next few weeks. For better and for worse: these qualities are experienced by us all whether we acknowledge it or not.

As I continue my journey through the decans on Facebook, Gemini II (the center of this sign’s season) has seized my focus and empowered me to Reclaim the name of this decan in spirit of Gemini: shifting it’s shape to enhance the integrity of our collective awareness.

With the help of my beloved trans community of magic-makers, I have intentionally changed Austin Coppock’s name of this decan in 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans from Hermaphrodite to Androgyne in support and celebration of the energy that it generates. While Hermaphrodite is considered “a slur used to describe intersex people in places where they were seen as problems to be fixed through medical intervention,” Androgyne encompasses and celebrates the full dimension of Gemini II without excluding important aspects of it’s essence.

I do this not to shame those who may not know, but to center and respect the pioneers who Work this energy every day. I do this in honor of the season that guides us to increase our awareness, cultivate diversity and create space for That-Which-We-Do-Not-Yet-Know-But-Will-Soon-Discover. I do this in gratitude for all beings that bring their vision of utopia a little closer to earth at all costs.

Behold, the quirky character of Gemini II: Androgyne in a fresh new suit

The limitlessness of imagination has created a paradise in the mind of the beholder: dimensions of wisdom, unity and wonder known only to the psyche that conjured them, untouched by the parameters of any other finite being. Now, that mind must take the plunge of incorporating that heightened vision into realities seen by all, shifting the surrounding paradigm into something greater.

Boundaries of the mundane are playfully expanded. Opposites dual one another in the name of discovery and solidarity within the whole. Radical authenticity beams like light through a prism: shining a rainbow of possibilities upon a realm that has never witnessed such a bright signature of vitality. This shift is powerful, vulnerable, dramatic, inquisitive, charming, whimsical and non-conforming: challenging everything that came before it because it must.

The air in the world that existed before Gemini II is infused with awe and confusion: opinions are formed within and without. Curiosity is on over-drive. How did this paradox come to be? How can introductions and incorporation begin? When it seems like sense has been made, Gemini II shifts again. Refusing to commit to anything other than the Truth of the Moment.

How does contradiction make you feel? What is your response to something you have never seen or experienced before? How do you act when opposites are actively challenging each other within your Self? What surprises have recently caused you to change your perceptions?

#blacktranslivesmatter #translivesmatter

Spring Fling Spirit Fair

Events, Tarot

WHEN:  Sunday, April 7th from 11:00am – 5:00pm
WHERE: Ace Hotel Pittsburgh

Stems of the season are beginning to sprout, but what blossoms are yet to come? As the energy of spring begins to generate fresh life, it can be a great time to check in with Goals. Desires. Intentions. Direction. Join Journeys of Life (and me, Aurora) for their final Spring Fling Spirit Fair!

From the event page on Facebook:

“It’s that time of year – time for Journeys Spring Fling Spirit Fair! A day of tarot, palmistry, I Ching, intuitives, mediumship and more! RSVP to this page to stay up to date on all the details – we’ll be updating it with confirmed readers, vendors, services and more!

Amoret is not able to participate in the fair. However, we are excited to welcome Aurora. She is a talented tarot reader with a strong astrology background! You can learn more about Aurora on her website: aurorathewitch.com

For an up to date list of services and vendors, please visit the Spirit Fair event page on Facebook

“Animal You’ll Surely Become” Book Launch

Events, Tarot

animal2

WHEN:  Saturday, October 20th from 6:00pm – 7:30pm
WHERE:  2918 Leander Street, Pittsburgh PA
COST:  FREE

In a time of #metoo movements and exhausting Brett Kavanaugh hearings, Brittany Hailer boldly debuts her published memoir: a work of poetry and nonfiction, exploring a broken family system, addiction, and sexual trauma.

Join Brittany as she launches “Animal You’ll Surely Become” with an evening of performers, tarot readings by Aurora the Witch and a celebration of her success: vulnerability as a radical act of courage.

From the Event page:

“Animal You’ll Surely Become is a blue collar fairy tale. A work of poetry and nonfiction, Animal explores a broken family system, addiction, and sexual trauma. This book with glimmer into existence October 9, 2018.

Come celebrate Brittany Hailer’s debut memoir/hybrid Animal You’ll Surely Become. The reading and event will be at the lovely residence of Molly and Paul Marks.

Readers/Performers Include:
Molly Marks
Jeffrey Bolden
Sarah Shotland
Sheila Squillante

Aurora the Witch will have a special tarot nook set up in the back yard!

Monique Combs is cooking 🙂

Books will be for sale as well, but you can pre-order a copy from Tolsunbooks.com. You can buy my book at the launch or online

Reviews:

‘Animal You’ll Surely Become is an honest, intimate, and unwaveringly compassionate look at our human vulnerability, especially the young, the disenfranchised, the addicted, and the innocent. These fierce essays sting, then sing. Brittany Hailer is a writer to watch, that’s for sure.’ – Dinty W. Moore, author of Between Panic & Desire

‘Animal You’ll Surely Become is a courageous and confident debut that juggles sorrow and fear, rage and love, hurt and triumph, all while balanced on an umbilical highwire tethered between memory and the moon. After reading this book, you will never see cherry blossoms or a tortoise shell or a collarbone or a wine bottle or a pile of clothes in the same way again. Angela Carter, Kate Bernheimer, and Lidia Yuknavitch fans, you heard it here first: Brittany Hailer is a writer to watch.’ —Molly Gaudry, author of We Take Me Apart and Desire: A Haunting


‘Animal You’ll Surely Become is a brutal and lyric shape-shifter of a book. It reinvents itself with each chapter, always turning on the reader. This book is an animal who is smart and soft, intuitive and vicious. It is a hybrid-myth of a beast with three faces pointing backwards, forwards, and most importantly: straight ahead, daring its reader, its prey, to blink. Hailer debuts with a lush and dirty book that is as adventurous as it is ambitious, and as I read it, I couldn’t look away.’ -Sarah Shotland, Author of Junkette

For further details and up to date event information, please visit the event page on Facebook.

Annual Pittsburgh Pagan Pride Day 2018

Art, Events, ReclaimingPGH, Tarot

PPD workshop

WHEN:  Sunday, October 7th from 11:00am – 7:00pm
WHERE:  Castle Shannon Memorial Hall, Pittsburgh, PA
COST:   FREE

ReclaimingPGH community members Critter and Juniper Caldera will be facilitating an Energy Raising workshop at this year’s Pagan Pride Day! Join them as they share the basics about Reclaiming Witchcraft, what our rituals are like and how we raise energy (also known as Cones of Power) with our bodies.

Pagan Pride Day is an annual celebration of Paganism in the Pittsburgh area! Complete with vendors, food, raffles and magical people of all kinds. The following has been copied from the event page on Facebook:

We have not one but TWO amazing keynote speakers coming in for our 2018 event:

Mary K. Greer AND Byron Ballard

HUGE Thanks to our 2018 sponsors!

Spirit Level:
Black Cats & Company
Elemental Magick
Journeys of Life
The Vegan Goddess
Wicked Wicc ‘N Candles

Air Level:
Green Mountain Energy

Fire Level:
Sassafras Grove, ADF

Vendors confirmed so far:
Amazing Ami’s Accoutrements
Angela Rocco Photography, Jewelry & Such
Apothecary Muse
Archaeotype Designs
The Artful Cricket
Arts & Crafts: Botanica & Occult Shop
Bella Moon Old World Metaphysics
Black Cats & Company
The BroomStick Bazaar
Crystal Dragon-Hawk Creations
Cybele’s
Dancing Dragonflies By Carolyn
Divine Scentsations Inc
The Dragon Guy
Dragon Wands
Elemental Magick
Gifts In Jars
Happy Hookers Detroit
Journeys of Life
Kesha’s Kingdom
Long Dogs Bakery
Maiden and Crone Adornments
Mastros & Zealot: Witches for Hire
Michele’s Menagerie
Phoenix Wynd Designs
Pretzel Crazy
Red Dragon Maille
The Rowan Grove
That Artist
Tintero – Custom Turnings
Twin Star Gifts
The Twisted Faerie
Jeff Watson
Wicked Wicc ‘N Candles
Witchy Crafts Corner
Wizard’s Emporium, featuring a selection from Portable Weirdness
Zedd’s Gifts

Readers confirmed:
Bellaire House Tours, LLC
Intuitively Tarot
PANARADIA
Readings by Ronda
Seriously Mythtaken

Groups/Organizations:
Golden Thread Camp OTO
Reclaiming Pittsburgh – a religious witchcraft tradition
Sassafras Grove, ADF


Be sure to check back on the Pagan Pride Day 2018 event page on Facebook for an up-to date list of vendors!

 

Moon Wizarding Festival

Events, Tarot

moon wizarding

Join Aurora as she performs readings at the Moon Wizarding Festival in Moon Township from 1:00pm – 4:00pm on Saturday, September 8th. Your readings will help fund Pittsburgh’s Annual Pagan Pride Day on Sunday, October 7th Come out for some fresh insight and magical fun!

POSTED FROM EVENT PAGE:

Witches, Wizards and Muggles – Please join us for the first Moon Wizarding Festival. This amazing event is brought to you by Moon Parks and Recreation and will feature artisans, crafters, music, games, Quidditch, crafts, food, drink, costume contests, trivia tournaments, and much much more! Save the date – this is going to be bigger than the Quidditch World Cup!

**Our EventBrite pre-registration ticket system is closed but that was only to enter the contest and help our event planners. This festival is free and open to the public, no registration or RSVP required! All are welcome!

For further details and up to date event information, please visit the Moon Wizarding Festival event page on Facebook.

 

Archetypes and Mysteries: An Introductory Tarot Course

Events, Tarot

TO POST Tarot Class FB header

I am thrilled to announce that I will be co-teaching an introductory tarot course with Amoret BriarRose in Pittsburgh this May through June! I have received numerous inquiries about whether or a workshop would be offered for those who are completely new to tarot or looking to deepen their understanding the archetypes present in the striking images of the Rider Waite Smith deck. If this sounds like you, scroll on to read more and register! Space is very limited.

“72 cards open the realm of the Archetypes. 72 cards hold a myriad of Mysteries.
Step onto the Fool’s path and unlock the wisdom of the tarot.

Over 6 Sundays you will:

– learn traditional meanings of the tarot cards while working with
Major and Minor Arcana energies

– participate in energy work, trance, and other activities to activate
intuitive wisdom in relationship with tarot archetypes

– participate in practice readings

Prerequisites:

– an open mind

– a Rider Waite tarot deck (decks will be available for purchase at
Arts & Crafts Botanica)

– ability to attend all classes as scheduled

*Tuition: We offer a fixed sliding scale of $150 – $270. You decide where you fall on the scale.* A $50 deposit is required to reserve your space at the time of registration; full payment is required by April 23, 2018.

To register: https://tinyurl.com/TarotCourseRegistration
Facebook event: https://tinyurl.com/TarotCourseFacebookEvent

Registration closes on April 23, 2018.

*A sliding scale is meant to accommodate varying income levels while assuring that teachers and facilitators receive fair compensation for their work. If the bottom of the scale is financially out of reach and you would like to attend the class, please contact Vasalisa to discuss work study options.”

Taking Action

Events, Mundane Magic, Tarot

It has been over one year since my last post and I find myself in a state of reflection. 2017 was a time of great transition: uprooting myself and moving twice; serving as a ritualist for a Reclaiming witchcamp; beginning an apprenticeship with a seasoned astrologer; adopting a kitten and shifting my daily life to embrace deep levels of intimacy with another person. Sure blog posts could have been written that narrated this journey of new magic in the mundane (and trust me, it was there) but these were things that I felt oddly compelled to keep to myself. I chose not to over analyze my experiences, remaining as present as possible as everything unfolded.

However there is something calling to be shared about where I have been, where I am now and what is coming to be. The story that connects the ends of that bridge happened last summer during a festival where I was offering tarot services to the public.

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Doing this outside of pagan circles is always interesting as society tends to associate this work with fantasy movies and phonies declaring when your doorbell will ring next. Most people came and went, likely more excited about the fire juggler nearby, except for two visitors passing through whose eyes I caught.

It was an aunt and her niece who was about seven years old. When they slowly made their way over to my table, I assumed that it was the older woman who was interested in some advice to pair with the drink in her hand. I was stunned to watch her bend down to the girl and ask, “do you want to talk to her about your dad?” As the three of us chatted I was told that recently her father had passed on and a tarot-witch might be someone who she could talk to about death. The young one, seemingly unfazed by her question, plopped herself in the seat across from me. The aunt promised she would be nearby (allowing for some privacy) and told us that we should let her know when the reading was finished.

Normally, I do not perform readings for anyone under the age of 18. However, my agreement with the event organizer was to spend just ten minutes with each individual that was interested and willing to donate some funds, plus I had the consent of her caretaker. So I handed the deck over to be mixed and prepared to do some deep listening. When it finally came time to ask the tarot-witch a question, I found myself delightfully surprised:

“Are fairies real?”

This charmed me for two very specific reasons. First, I had just returned from co-facilitating SpiralHeart‘s annual witchcamp where we Worked the Ballad of Tam Lin: a myth of love between human and fae (so I certainly had some opinions.) Second, this kid chose not to do what her aunt had suggested. She did what made most sense to her: she asked the witch about magic.

We both decided that we knew fairies were real, but that finding them could be tricky. So we consulted the deck about where and how they could be found. The Empress arose and we learned that being creative was a signal for them to join her. The Nine of Cups revealed to us that making wishes was a good idea. We pulled another and she just kept smiling: likely satisfied that a grown up confirmed something she Knew to be true. She politely said thank you before she walked off with her aunt and I was left alone with a feeling of pure love swelling in my heart.

Photo Jul 12, 5 02 57 PM

As months have passed and I witness the world today, I have been wondering how our interaction will serve that girl in the future (or if she will remember it at all.) We are living in a time of national trauma. The news cycle reminds us daily of how our leaders are betraying us. Kids are murdering each other in the hallways with military-grade guns. Storms due to climate change are devastating entire communities. Healthcare is denied to those in poverty and we are regularly taunted by the threat of nuclear war. Hopelessness has become a disease that seems to be swallowing the vitality of so many people.

What about the next generation? What do they have to work towards and dream into being? How will they relate to or use magic? Will they be able to find it amidst everything else demanding their attention?

I recently read that witchcraft was originally gifted to the poor from the Gods as a way for them to fight back against the oppression of unjust rulers. This idea has me thinking back to spells I have done, difficult conversations I have had and choices I have made among friends that have empowered me and created change in my surrounding community. I would not have these memories if it was not for what I have read about witchcraft, the lessons of priestesses, refining my magical skills and connecting with those who are willing to stand up for what they believe in. I am grateful every day that I found the witches’ road. I know that it is my responsibility to give back to those who are doing their best to find the same path towards right-sized pride and power-from-within.

Photo Aug 28, 12 09 05 PM

This is the year I break out of my comfort zone. This is the year that I initiate alliances and create opportunities for others to learn. This is the year that I say yes and take action. This is the year that the gifts that have been given to me must move; because there is a generation on the rise that desperately needs guidance and support. Faeries, magic and immanence need to be acknowledged by humans so that our Work together may be strengthened.

Brave leadership is required or else those being told they “have no power” and “resisting does not matter” will actually begin to believe those lies.

I am scheduling events online and in-person this year with other witches from around the world: offering them to everyone who is willing to do the Work. I am also nurturing a local community of Reclaiming witches in Pittsburgh, PA with other priestesses so that our city will be resilient amidst conflict, empowered to speak up, willing to demand better and welcoming to all.

Stay tuned and take action, because now may be your time too.

Waving the Wand

Art, Events, Jewelry, Mundane Magic, Tarot

It takes a bold soul to pick up a wand. To hold something that is pulsing with power, that fits perfectly in your hand and feels like an extension of who we are and what we are meant to do…. but does not come with a manual. There are no definite answers when we ask “how do you use this thing?” Just a feeling  of connection. Invigoration. A rush of energy that serves as an invitation to do something big that we cannot even understand yet.

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The Universe offers us wands of potential all of the time. They might not take the form of a wooden stick (although some do) it could be a crowd cheering us on before we go on stage. A phone call from someone we did not expect…. Wands make themselves known as tools that will help us transform ourselves and the world around us. It may not be our eyes that identify them, but our hearts being lit on fire. For me this year, it has been the deep Desire to create obscure beauty and share it with the world.

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I do not have absolute certainty on my side. I have not been given a road map of where I need to go or the specifics of what I need to do. I just follow the hope-fire and continue to take risks. I do this even when I am afraid or not feeling full of confidence. I observe my situation, take a moment and make the next best decision that I can considering the circumstances.

What I do know is that I love to conjure things that do not yet exist in this world. I know how to pick our the supplies that draw my attention and use my gifts to make things that others may enjoy. When I hear a song that someone else has composed or read someone else’s poem that does more to reveal a mystery than create one, I feel a connection to a deeper part of myself. I am moved and made more open. I am so grateful to all of the artists and rebels that put so much work into their craft. I, too, am one of those people and it is now time to give back.

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My work as jeweler, paper artist, photographer and tool-maker is now available on Etsy. Metaphysical jewelry, intuitive collages, divinely inspired magical tools, occult photography that serves as a way to dissect your psyche and much more can be found here, as well as many other creations that are on the verge of manifestation.

I wave my wand and grace is born. What are you creating in the world around you?

Growing Sharper

Art, Mundane Magic, Tarot

Of all the divination tools out there, I really have quite an affection for the tarot deck.

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IMAGE: VasalisaTheWitch

 

Even before I had any inkling of what it was, the beauty of the cards called to me. After years of training and self-guided study, I have found the 78 cards of the tarot deck to be the complete set of archetypes that visually express what happens during life as a human being. These experiences occur in everyone’s lives and we cannot escape these happenings, no matter our sex, race, class, or creed. When paired with intuition and the humor of our fair Universe, I find them to be an invaluable tool of navigation.

Last April, I did a 12-card reading for my year. I laid out one card per month, to give me an idea of what energies will be present and pulsing. As October arrived, this guy showed up:

 

9 of wands

IMAGE: VasalisaTheWitch

 

While there is no handbook to the original set of cards, I interpret the 9 of Wands as: on guard, anxious, defensive, prepared, ready to engage, challenges, showing some backbone, and courage. If this archetype is what I can expect from my month, it will be a time of being on constant alert. Nothing is actively happening and the opponent has yet to show up, but the air is charged and the armor has been applied. Ready, steady… wait.

So how can a tarot card that depicts a guarded warrior prepared for battle serve as a source of magic after I’ve put the deck away?

One way is to open up and explore this specific energy during daily check-ins with the Self. I can notice the thoughts that scurry around in my head or witness how I am reacting emotionally to the day’s events. Using this card as a lens for my month means consciously experiencing all of the nuances that are present within this energy, and making decisions for myself from this perspective. If I knew that a strong odor of defensiveness was present within my center, should I choose to discuss an issue with my boss this week? Am I really able to give unbiased feedback to a friend soliciting advice regarding how to deal with her unmotivated partner?

Another way is to embrace and express this energy; not change it into something different, but recognize it’s significance and apply it’s power. I can allow these nine wands to flow through me as I prepare for a long run or a busy night at work. I can be honest with myself and gently suggest that maybe meditation is just going to be difficult right now. I could choose to engage in some social justice work in the field. Giving this energy permission to guide me at this point in time allows me to celebrate it’s existence and understand who I am when I embody it. I often use this insight to inspire collage, which is my personal process of fitting the parts together to create a complete picture:

 

"Stand By"

“Stand By” collage by VasalisaTheWitch

It can be really difficult to *see* everything that’s happening when thoughts, feelings, energy and the physical world collide in complex ways. Tarot cards (and all tools of divination) give us the opportunity to pick a very decorated whole apart to be observed and understood. Just like a paint-by-number portrait, each color is necessary to create the image and make it complete. Even if one part is missing, the entire whole is affected.

The name of this magic is awareness, which is our ability to perceive and act from a place of conscious knowing. It is this separation, exploration, opening, embracing and expression that allows each of us to create our desired life while the mysterious hooded figure called The Unknown perches in the corner of our eye…

“The Universe Is Full of Magical Things Patiently Waiting for Our Wits to Grow Sharper.” – Eden Phillpotts

 

ace of swords

IMAGE: VasalisaTheWitch