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

The Art of Reclaiming

Events, Mundane Magic

It has been my experience that most (if not all) people have opinions about Valentines Day. To some, it’s a frantic search for a date and a gift: the pressure to perform when expectations are high. To others, it’s a spotlight on their loneliness or a ploy of Capitalist society to suckle the bank accounts of romantic souls. Whether reservations are made or heads are low, this day carries a charge.

Witches Know that energy is a real thing and use it for channeling purposes to produce desired results: the more potent the charge, the more dynamic the results. There are countless sources of energy, but a common one is holidays and it’s safe to say that there will be many people participating in various types of “ritual” today.

Reclaiming witches recognize and honor the power of names/sacred days/life on this planet that is often taken for granted. This is the reason we call ourselves “witches”: there is a charge to this word that ranges from “scary, old, green hag” to “wise woman with plant-knowledge” to “the devil who will rid your body of an unwanted child” to “a person that will do the forbidden.” We reclaim the word “witch” for it contains a rich legacy of Wisdom and doing what Must Be Done. In calling that word ours, we give back to it with our thoughts and actions: knowing that both are enriched by the energetic current also known as “meaning.”

I believe that we have the right to reclaim words from toxic roots, so long as we have true knowledge of the source, integrity supporting our intention of its use and full awareness of the communities that have been impacted by said word (and whether or not it’s ours to claim.) I also believe that Valentines Day is an opportunity to practice the Art of Reclaiming: from consumerism, from gas-lighting and guilt-trips, from sexual violence as well as from hopelessness.

This tradition began during the Roman Empire when marriage was banned by Emperor Claudius II because he believed it made soldiers reluctant to leave for battle. A priest known as Saint Valentine married couples in secret and was later put to death for violating this law, though the lore reveals that he valued empathy and connection more than domination and obedience… An act, some might say, of True Love.

A wise witch once said “Don’t deny the gift just because you don’t like the package it came in.” There is an allegory present in Valentines Day, and humans have been feeding energy into it for centuries. While there is use in creating new words and philosophies to represent something important, why not use something that is already available? Does Valentines Day (or a pre-planned, widely known occasion to dedicated to expressing Love) deserve to remain hijacked by consumer culture or a bitter attitude?

So today, I challenge the willing: tap into the currents of love in whatever way feels right to you. Maybe it’s choosing to cook a nice meal for a beloved. Maybe it’s being clear with an employer about what you need as an act of self-care. Maybe it’s scheduling time to have coffee with a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Maybe it’s something that isn’t listed here, but feels right for this day. Regardless of what it is (as long as there is consent if another person is involved!) I hope everyone chooses to have a wonderful Valentines Day. I know that’s my intention.

Launching into 2019: Astrology forecast webinar

astrology, Events

IG FINAL Launching into 2019

Teri Parsley Starnes and I will be hosting our second annual New Year’s Forecast on the first Sunday of 2019! I am thrilled to announce that I am now an affiliated astrologer of Starsdance Astrology and we are both excited to reveal the Work we have planned in the coming year during this webinar.

From our event page on Facebook:

A bold new year is approaching fast. The planets have big plans for January and there is great momentum available to achieve our goals in 2019. While the darkness of rage and despair may have dampened our resilience in 2018, this new cycle reignites our focus and hope: to face our challenges will be a great adventure. What stirs inside you now? What are you hoping to learn and what are you able to teach others? Do you dare to take healthy risks in a world of unknowns? What holds you back from making an impact? Our Willpower playfully erupts, we are ready to take action.

Astrology is a powerful tool for mindful magic. This webinar combines astrological forecasting with magical/spiritual intention to help launch our hopes and dreams for 2019. As activists and lovers of the world, we come together to envision collective and personal magic. Aurora and Teri will share the major astrological influences of 2019, with a look towards the important transits of 2020. Participants will be invited to ask questions and share insights for the coming year. All levels of astrological and magical knowledge are welcome. Beginners are encouraged!

Teri and Aurora plan to offer continuing workshops throughout 2019 to support the intention discussed in this webinar. Get a start on this magic by attending.

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Space is limited and capped at 30 participants

Cost is $15 – $30 sliding scale –> Discounts available for POC and Indigenous People

Please visit the event listing on Eventbright to reserve your spot! Launching into 2019 webinar will be recorded and available for purchase if you are not able to participate in the live Zoom meeting.

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Teri Parsley Starnes is the founding astrologer behind Starsdance Astrology. Teri is a professional astrologer who approaches the craft with a Witch’s point of view. That means for them the sky is alive and we are in relationship. Through mindful awareness we engage in the magical act of changing our worlds.

Aurora is an astrologer affiliated with Starsdance Astrology who channels the wisdom from Above into opportunities for growth. Supported by her background in Evolutionary Astrology and Reclaiming Witchcraft, Aurora co-facilitates transformation in tandem with the Universe’s planetary transits. By allowing change to shape our souls, we expand the potential of future generations.

Find out more at www.starsdanceastrology.com

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To register, visit our event listing on Eventbright, we hope to see you there!

 

Naming Transformation

Mundane Magic, Updates

I have changed. Four and a half years of deeply personal, magical work has crested to become a wave of change that I cannot reverse. It signifies both an end and a beginning. In my tradition, we call it: Initiation.

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What is it?

Initiation is a sacred contract with the Universe: a declaration that one is willing to sacrifice their comfort and perception of the worlds as they know them. These things are handed over to carefully chosen initiators and The Powers That Be in exchange for deep Wisdom and a customized journey to one’s own source of Personal Power. This is done so that these witches can be reborn and give back what is needed in the world in their own unique, authentic way. It is done knowing that this evolutionary Work is never finished and serves as a commitment to being challenged to change over and over again in this lifetime and the next.

In the Reclaiming tradition, initiation is not a requirement. Many witches who attend our rituals and have their own daily practices are not initiated; contentment can be found in maintaining one’s own spiritual hygiene through Reclaiming’s Principles of Unity and connecting with others in our communities. It is not a badge of honor that shows superiority or a “deeper dedication” to Reclaiming, but a personal choice that one makes on their own if they feel Called to it.

Why I chose Initiation:

My desire for initiation came in the form of a wish: to love myself and be proud of my life. It arose during a time where I felt lost… where the choices I was making were unhealthy and everything felt disastrously unmanageable. I could not have fully understood what I was in for at the time when I asked to be initiated. All that I Knew was that deep transformation was necessary and that Reclaiming witchcraft was the way that I felt it needed to happen so that my Soul could be truly revived.

Choosing initiators:

My experience of choosing initiators was a two-fold task of vulnerability. First, I needed to find the witches that possess the qualities that I aspired to have within myself. Then, I had to ask them for their consent and help in shifting my energy so that I could become empowered and, in turn, a spiritual leader.

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I chose two bold, powerful people who still intrigue, bewilder and deeply move me.

Independently, they are two enchanting women who call themselves witches: an oracular rose within a patch of briar and a weaver of bones that reveals deep Truth. Together, they are a facilitation team that compassionately revealed to me What Must Be Done. I admired their integrity, active resistance to codependency, ability to be fully present with others and balance of self-care with community service.

They began as my guides. Now, they are my family and I am eternally grateful.

Doing the Work:

Transformation requires a willingness to grow: and growth is often painful.

In order to shift my energy toward that of a priestess, my initiators gave me challenges to address problematic behavior, ignite awareness through first-hand experiences and directly confront my fears . Some challenges required repetition to incorporate magical Will power into my daily habits. Others challenged me to break out of my comfort zone. For me, this Work meant investigating the root of my wounds, choosing which relationships to nourish and serving my communities with humility.

What made this process so unique for me was that I was not always directly told to do these things. I was just told to cast a circle every day for a month, shovel snow for my neighbors without being asked, and make very conscious choices about physical intimacy. It was performing these tasks of growth that allowed for experimentation with support and coming to my own realizations about why they were so necessary in my Becoming.

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The contract for initiation is at least one year and a day. For some (myself included) it takes much longer. A revolution-from-within does not come with it’s own egg timer: time, trust and commitment eventually reveal when a priestess is ready to become initiated.

Initiation Day:

Initiation rituals are secret Workings and vary per line of witches. What I will say about this very special day that happened on the 4th of August, 2018 is that: I felt completely supported. I was fully present. The transformative energy was incredibly potent, yet tender the entire day. And I will never, ever forget it.

This experience was a Rite of Passage that signified the end of my life as I knew it. It was also the birth of a priestess with a new legacy riddled with it’s own challenges to be experienced and fulfilled. This transition becomes official when this priestess accepts her new name and says goodbye to the old one that no longer suits her or her Work.

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It is with great pride and honor that I reveal:

Vasalisa is dead,
and
Aurora has been born.

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The other side:

In the weeks after my initiation into the Bone and Briar line, I can say that things feel very different. I am in the process of reassessing what still feels important in my life. I am also realigning my priorities and discovering how I may best be of service in all of my communities. I don’t have clear answers about a lot of these things so far, but one thing that I can say for sure is that nothing feels certain…. which is intimidating, confusing, thrilling, and empowering.

My Work now:

Vasalisa ventured into the darkness to find her light. It was that brave adventure which caused her to become the light: bringing the dawn, with it’s brightness and magnificent color, back to the place where she once lived. I can’t say that I fully understand the magnitude of what it means to Be the light, but I know that Aurora is here to stay for now and very excited to meet you.

Cast Yourself

Background, Mundane Magic

My name is Vasalisa and I am a Witch.

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More specifically, I’m a polytheist fusion of Reclaiming and Feri beliefs. I primarily work with Aphrodite, Loki, and Baba Yaga but often call upon (and celebrate) the deities of other pantheons. Many more pockets exist within the word that likely sticks out on this page; a whole collection of worlds with names, descriptions and categories alive within this title that was once kept quiet… but this isn’t a poetic tour through our diversity as a whole. A solid intention serves as the core of this space, just as our Earth’s iron center pulls everything toward it’s molten heat.

In order to paint the full picture of what this blog is about, it seems appropriate to tell the story of how my perception of magic changed with one simple question.

Three years ago, I found my people and my practice. As my Work evolved, so did my mystical toolbox of supplies. I weaved wands out of branches and called in Inspiration. I set up an altar where all of my beautiful gems, images and soul-bits could be on display. I invested in my first Book of Shadows that I *knew* would encapsulate my spirit between those pages.

 

Book of Shadows

IMAGE: VasalisaTheWitch

 

I remember the day that I brought it home. I could barely wait to fill that book with poems, spells, artifacts and artwork… but it all had to be just right. Clean. Perfect. Just like all the mysterious ones I admired when I was younger. These two were the steel rods that held up my massive expectations:

 

This handmade, living record of the Sanderson Sisters

 

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This gorgeous “how-to” scrapbook of the Owens Women

 

I put a great deal of effort into those first fifteen pages. So many snips of paper were placed neatly around archetypes and explanations in such elegant cursive! Then it came time to record the heavy stuff… My addiction Work. My abandoned child Work. All of the pain and darkness that I desperately wanted to purge from my heart and burn after scrawling. I knew this Work was necessary, but I convinced myself that it needed to be done in a separate spot. How could I possibly follow poetry about connecting to a new deity with my reoccurring dream of defecating in public?

“I have a new journal for my Witch Work, a journal for my 12-Step Work and a journal for my dream Work,” I explained to one of my mentors as we were about to sit down for breakfast. “My new book is for magic only.” She stopped what she was doing in the kitchen and shot me a gaze that I knew meant she was about to slice right through my bullshit.

“Isn’t your whole life magic?” she asked.

And with that one sentence, I was knocked down off of my high-horse. Of course my whole life is magic. If the act of magic is defined as “the art of changing consciousness at will” and I use my will to make choices in my life, then it is the consequences of those choices that shift my perspective (ie: consciousness) so that I can continue to manifest the life that I want for myself and make the world a better place.  It is how I do my part to create change in the living Universe around me. Boom. Magic.

Writing a chant about courage helps me carry out the bold choices I need to make when I feel anxiety. Doing addiction Work helps me recover from destructive habits, which allows me to participate in healthy relationships. Witnessing a friend tenderly reading stories to a sick family member that was cruel to her as a child opens my heart to compassion for others. All of this is magic, and it definitely deserves to be included in that fancy book.

It can be easy to whittle magic down to “what I do in my coven” or “how I feel when I’m at a public ritual,” as if something *special* needs to happen in order for that magical spark to show up. Don’t get me wrong, these formal happenings are special, but truth be told: magic is how we choose to participate in life every single day. It’s how we show up in community as well as how we treat ourselves. Which brings me to the intention of this blog:

VasalisaTheWitch is here in cyber space to reveal how she experiences magic in daily life to her community.

There will be artwork. There will be poetry. There will be stories of synchronicity  realized through everything from divination to conversation. And there will certainly be a full spectrum of emotion unveiled as she travels down the road that cackles and shakes for your reading pleasure.

“Cast yourself. You are the spell.” – T. Thorn Coyle

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IMAGE: VasalisaTheWitch