Spark of Service

Art, Jewelry

The creative process is riddled with peaks and lulls.

As June ends and July begins, I am finding myself inspired by the warm glow of summer to reveal what I have created. Some pieces are new, others have been selected to be showcased at this time… My archive is in heat with new work that is ready to be shared with the world.

 

IMG_1845

IMAGE: VasalisaTheWitch

 

I am reminded of just how much I love witnessing the spark that is released when a client or friend tells me what inspires them. Are you willing to share: your passion? What moves you to love? That thing that calls you to do something bold in this crazy world?

Contact me to schedule a consult. Let’s make some magic together.

Meet the Muse: Brittany

Art, Jewelry

Meet Brittany:

FullSizeRender_1

 

Brittany is a writer and poet that is eclectically woven into the art-scene of her city. A Non-Fiction Editor of IDK Magazine, she helps select written work that “disobeys social norms [and] empowers the collective body of future humanity” to be published online for the millennial generation. Brittany also teaches creative writing classes at rehabilitation centers in Pittsburgh: using tarot cards, fairy tales and magical realism to encourage women to write about their addiction and trauma.

 

FullSizeRender_2

 

“Superstition” earrings were created just for her. They were inspired by Brittany’s fashion versatility: her ability to transition between ensembles like a flowing dress and sunhat to breeches and a blazer is a skill that she has nailed down. This set features a single garnet stone, a hazy green marble bead, an amber-colored bead, copper wire and strands of copper chain. They were made to be worn with any outfit Brittany might construct.

 

FullSizeRender_3

“Superstition” earrings by VasalisaTheWitch

 

Want to be featured recipient of A Paradigm By Design jewelry? Send a message and tell me about yourself! Currently, all prices are negotiable and determined on a case-by-case basis.

Unflinching Prayer

Jewelry, Mundane Magic

I have allowed myself to sink into the story of Medusa, which is the myth we will be Working at this year’s SpiralHeart Witchcamp. It tells a tale of shame, betrayal, seclusion, authenticity, acceptance and sacrifice. (Feel free to read the whole story here.)

So often we are told stories of heroes. These (often male) protagonists answer the call to adventure, slay the demons, get the girl and score a kingdom. But this time, the monster is the hero. She is grotesque. Her eyes are lethal. Onlookers fear Her, but the darkness of her nature is powerful. And that’s exactly where the truth lies in this myth: where there is fear, there is power.

devil

IMAGE: VasalisaTheWitch

 

We will gather together in July to open this myth and live it from the lens of our own personal experience. We apply the qualities of these characters to our own tendencies: When have I been considered a monster by others? We feel our response to their actions: What emotions arise when I’m all alone? We realize that the story of the Gods might not be too different from our own.

Prayer can be a really useful way to cope with accept these deep truths, which might be one of the reasons why I have made a few rosaries lately.

smaller depth

“Sacred Depths” rosary by VasalisaTheWitch

 

Originally used in the Catholic tradition, these beads of prayer feel like a useful way to connect with the divine to manifest a desire. Same practice, new poetry.

SpiralHeart has chosen it’s intention for this year, which has been a warm blanket for my spirit. It reminds me that this Work has a purpose when I feel lost in the story. Every bead on the chain holds this carefully crafted statement of intent; as I run my fingers along each one, I am chanting transformation:

“We seek the Monster’s Unflinching Gaze. We are willing to Look, and risk the Seeing. Striving to hold the divine and monstrous both, we turn the gaze outward. We listen deeply, as allies, and work together to dismantle Privilege and Oppression.”

smaller serpent

“Steady Eye of the Serpent” rosary created by VasalisaTheWitch

 

Made of a variety of Serpentine stones, silver wire and chain, as well as a glass snake-eye pendant; this piece inspires integration. It is a softening of my rigid ego that strives for perfection. It’s also a reminder that the darkness that lies within me is an influential force that I cannot disown. As a wise witch once said, “oh honey, if you deny your Shadow you give up your power to shape it.” A lovely reminder that where there is a willingness to accept what is, there is the potential for transformation.

Feeling Connection

Art, Mundane Magic

Lately, I have realized how happy I am with my personal practice.

I used to scour the internet and books for a routine. I also relentlessly asked my spiritual friends, yogis and mentors what I “should be doing” to connect to my inner-most Self. I rarely asked myself these questions.

These people have it together I thought. What they are doing is clearly working.
That’s what I should be doing.

When I was told that writing in a journal about emotions can be a really useful way to experience them, I gave it a shot. Over time though, I realized that I’m a very verbal person…. I often use my mind to escape feeling things. Writing was intellectualizing what I felt and was therefore useless in this specific endeavor. This was a frustrating realization and the level of irritation I felt only reinforced just how badly I needed this outlet.

I took several things into consideration while tweaking this exercise. I decided that this practice needed to: be convenient enough to do on a whim, access my creative self, not take long to accomplish, and be something that I enjoy doing.

Collage was the answer. My collection of literary magazines, old college text books, National Geographics, art collections and children’s books served a turbo-charged source of inspiration. I find so much of the life I experience between those pages. Slicing them apart and piecing them together in a way that *feels* right has allowed me to match the emotion that I feel in the moment. The amazing thing about this process is that I am able to drop right back into that heart-space when I look back through old work.

The following is a peek into my Book of Shadows: the mirror of my Soul.

11393388_891789321596_7350051295034906668_o

“Hitched” by VasalisaTheWitch

 

Your move

“Your Move” by VasalisaTheWitch

 

taliesen

“Mounting Transformation” by VasalisaTheWitch

 

dawn of silence

“Dawn of Silence” by VasalisaTheWitch

 

FullSizeRender

“Triggered” by VasalisaTheWitch

 

grail

“Fingerprinting the Grail” by VasalisaTheWitch

 

FullSizeRender_2

“The Chain Unveiled” by VasalisaTheWitch

 

FullSizeRender

“Black Seduction” by VasalisaTheWitch

 

porcelain perfection

“Porcelain Hand of Perfection” by VasalisaTheWitch

 

Devils direction

“The Devil’s Direction” by VasalisaTheWitch

 

cardiac hymn

“Cardiac Hymn” by VasalisaTheWitch

 

FullSizeRender_1

“Impatient Dancing of the Dervish” by VasalisaTheWitch

A pocket of this blog will be dedicated to this Work. Some collages might eventually have some written context, some might not. Some of them may “make sense,” others might be totally bizarre. I love this Work because there is no right or wrong way to do it. The intention is to practice pure, unfiltered feeling.

How do you connect with your emotional Self?

Creating Magic

Art, Jewelry
10675749_817761129686_7731406056326910813_n

“Simmering Embers” created by VasalisaTheWitch

 

I have a vision of a community that is saturated with self-expression and I am committed to manifesting this idea. How many times have you sought out a piece of beauty in the world that reflects your true self?

My work is made of semi-precious stones, wire, charms and chains that come together just for you. I specialize in talismans, which materialize in the form of bracelets, earrings, or necklaces. I also enjoy repairing and re-vamping old jewelry into something that suits the wearer as they are right now.

 

10156151_1724938534385400_2648532193659008079_n

“Breaking the Egg” created by VasalisaTheWitch

 

My inspiration comes from learning about people and making something that cannot be replicated. I love getting to know the style and personality of my clients so that we can co-create this magic together. All prices are determined on a case-by-case basis so that all interested parties are able to acquire that which they desire.

Interesting in scheduling a consultation? Contact me and tell me what inspires you!

 

10635976_1541739369371985_7310003642467261632_n

“Electric Swirl” created by VasalisaTheWitch

Growing Sharper

Art, Mundane Magic, Tarot

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

newtarot

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

Cast Yourself

Background, Mundane Magic

My name is Vasalisa and I am a Witch.

Pentacle_background_white

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

 

8wtmk

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

IMG_1053

IMAGE: VasalisaTheWitch