Eve of Imbolc

Brigid at Her Forge


Many of my friends celebrate New Year’s as a perfunctory holiday or as “amateur night,” because the calendar year is a creation of modern times. Pagans and Witches alike view Samhain or Halloween as the “Witches New Year,” despite varying opinions. For me, the new year actually takes flight on the eve of Imbolc (February 2nd) and St. Brigid’s Day on February 1st. One of the 4 main festivals with Celtic origins in modern day Wicca, Imbolc is the midpoint between two starkly different equinoxes, a fire festival celebrating the lengthening of the days and the awakening of the goddess from her wintry slumber, nursing the Sun God, aware that spring is almost within reach. January has been filled with peaceful bouts of silence. With every passing year, my experience of January has turned into a respite of sorts, rather than a reason to cannonball wildly off the diving board towards the oncoming year. Using the brilliant cold as the perfect excuse to stay inside, go inward and reflect on “inner visions,” to quote Stevie Wonder, I’ve savored any opportunity to be alone, enjoying moments of quiet solitude, sketching out ideas as I watch bare branches swaying in the grey skies. What aspect of the Goddess do I need to summon from above, below and within to spring forth with clarity and creativity as I stoke the fires of Imbolc?

This holiday has an added dose of magic this year, with us earthlings experiencing a Supermoon/Full Moon/Lunar Eclipse in passion-filled Leo opposing cool as a cucumber Aquarius on the final day of January, the 31st. Mercury will also scamper into Aquarius and there sure will be much to ponder as we enter the cerebral, big vision air sign, representing the collective conscious of the future. I am always dumbfounded with awe when the magic of timing works in the most spectacular of ways. On January 31st through February 2nd such an auspicious time awaits, gifting us with an opportunity to combine the traditions of Imbolc to map out a course of personal action (Leo) in order to benefit the greater good. (Aquarius) With so much interest in what it means to be a witch and the power of magic, this astrological moment really begs the question, what can I do for the world,  not what can the world do for me? Macro versus micro level magic. While I wish I had the brains to cure cancer or even out wealth inequality, everyone practicing witchcraft works with nature for a desired outcome, no matter how noble or trivial the intention may seem. With each magical act, the question of ethics should always be considered. Rather than looking at these opposing energies as clashing, what can the lion teach the mad scientist? What intrinsic wisdom can they supply to each other?


Speaking of seemingly opposite energies, history can be murky in regards to how and if Imbolc influenced the Christian holiday of Candlemas, since Candlemas appears to date back to 4th century AD. Also known as the presentation of the Lord, Candlemas is one of the oldest holidays, a time when Mary presented herself to the temple for a purification ritual 40 days after Christmas and giving birth to Jesus. Saint Brigid’s Day which falls on February 1st was most likely Christianized to appease Celts who revered and worshipped the grande dame of a goddess Brigid.

In the Celtic pantheon, her triple goddess mythology isn’t limited to a mere traditional maiden, mother, crone aspect as there are multiple aspects of Brigid all revealing a rich, complex lore that weaves among Irish towns and tales.
As a saint, goddess, or divine inspiration, Brigid’s talent for poetry, crafting, fertility and divination all fall under the category of traditional “womanly work.” The word itself, Imbolc or Imbolg in Gaelic roughly translates to “ewe’s milk,” and on January 31st when the moon is at her fullest, I will be soaking in a bath of milk and honey visualizing the transition from the winter crone towards the emerging maiden of spring. The Goddess has given birth to the God which reflects the longer days of light reminding us that springtime is just around the corner. After this bath, it’s time for a proper evening of bonfires and quiet yet focused crafts and divination. If one feels extra crafty, use corn husks to create a doll of Brigid or a cross or set up a Brigid’s bed on your altar. This can be made from an old shoebox, with soft fabric or dream pillows added — anything comfortable to welcome the Goddess into your home — bestowing it with blessings and protection. Like all potent magic, don’t focus too much on the external, rather the intent of not only blessing your hearth and home but your friends, neighbors and all those less fortunate who need shelter and food. Go through your cabinets and take unused cans to food pantries, along with coats and any clothing you no longer need. Purification can take many forms.

This time of year can feel more like a rude awakening than sleeping beauty awakening to a gentle kiss. Like all the cross quarter days, it’s a dramatic shift and energetically in Aquarius season, we can all feel the axis tilt. As the first flowers poke their heads up along with groundhogs, all weather prognostication aside, there’s not much time left to hide under the cloak of winter. Use the last moments of winter to shed these layers and visualize yourself one with the world, co-mingling with greater, perhaps unknown purposes, all for your and their highest good.

Originally published at Slutist


Father Time


As an enthusiast of the art of comics, one that I’ve kept taped to various incarnations of vision boards is, of all things, a Christian Jack Chick-inked pamphlet, “Hi, There!” featuring a winking grim reaper, scythe in hand waiting around the corner for a wise-cracking construction worker who is shocked to meet his maker. When I was handed this propaganda about 7 years ago, it was truly auspicious timing and little did the proselytizer know how I received this comic strip as much needed tongue in cheek humor, nudging me to make a major decision in life because time waits for no one. 7 years later, a cycle of Saturn, and at a new crossroad in life, I’m preparing for my favorite holiday/s, Yule (Winter Solstice) and Christmas, which neatly syncs in with Saturn, good old Father Time firmly planting his trunks in his most natural placement, Capricorn, for the next 2 ½ years (December of 2020). Like that grinning grim reaper, Saturn’s big business, commitments and visions are serious as a heart attack and Saturn suffers no fools.

Continue reading “Father Time”

Hey, Jupiter


For my one-year wedding anniversary I escaped to Woodstock and experienced the starry night sky: a cabin surrounded by woods complete with sherbet colored sunrises and falling leaves. For a brief moment, frenetic city life and work-centered commitments were on pause and for two days only pleasure mattered. I breathed in air scented with beeswax and burnt wood. From devouring an apple endive salad to sipping hot coffee next to a table of Golden Girls-esque women — one wearing a leather jacket emblazoned with Gandhi’s face — the joyful spark of Sagittarius season was lit.

A life lesson for me this fall has been about knowing when to take these pauses along with consciously acknowledging what nourishes or depletes my mind, body and heart. Sagittarius kicks off the holiday season and offers a much-needed reprieve from the bombshells dropped during Scorpio’s season of deep revelations. Women telling their stories of sexual harassment and abuse have sprung forth from the underworld, like oil spewing up from a well and a new chapter in the fight for women’s rights has begun. Sagittarius shoots for the stars and the sign of the archer awakens our deep thirst for discovering what lies past the horizon, providing us with an opportunity for discovery, in foreign places or in one’s own imagination. Ruled by Jupiter, who I always see as the King of Mardi Gras, he possesses a regal demeanor, a man of spiritual wisdom, benevolence and always full of laughter, throwing out treasures from his float and dancing with gusto at every second line parade.

To me, Jupiter mythology was a masculine ideal, perhaps because my father is a Sagittarius and he was always brave, wanting to know more and blessed with a style and flair for the dramatic. Yet, Sagittarius is also a wild centaur attracted to the flame, and my father always seemed to be galloping towards other pursuits, not available at critical times, which only made me crave his attention more. Sagittarius’s shadow side can be arrogant, full of bravado that can be downright laughable, and have a brazen approach to honesty that can either liberate or cause deep insult. Like many girls who look up to their father to be an example of “how men should be,” we’re often horribly let down. Jupiter’s jovial, warm and loving image became quickly tarnished. Perhaps it is part of a broader lesson for all children initiated into adulthood seeing their parents as the flawed adults we all are.


With the #metoo revolution in full gear it has had me thinking about how the relationship between fathers and daughters can quickly turn into their own type of five alarm fires if not handled properly. Like most women, I’ve had flashback moments in the last month remembering a multitude of events that I felt weren’t that big of a deal, in comparison to much greater traumas. It’s the devils I’ve made deals with to “forgive and forget” that have been hitting hardest.  I’ve wondered if my father had been able to be involved more in his daughter’s life, could it have prevented a rollercoaster of events? Sounds naïve and the answer is probably not, but there is a part of me that can’t help and ponder would I have been different in my relationships with men if we had a stronger bond? There were some gem moments like when he got really into Hole and we would play “Live Through This” in the car or when he revealed stories of his days as an 18 year old paratrooper all in his thick accent; “it was no big deal, you just jump.” These literally precious moments were always brief and then the suit of masculine armor was donned again. Sagittarius enjoys having a mythology about them but this left an aching distance and my father felt more like an archetype rather than someone who would protect, love and defend me despite such legendary tales.

I saw Tori Amos in concert a few weeks ago and did not have the waterworks and hysterical release of tears that I once had in high school.  I was starting to feel a little cheated but an unexpected highlight showing off her Goddess-given power came through crystal clear when she covered “Real Men,” by Joe Jackson, singing “what’s a man now, what’s a man mean.” I thought about my Sagittarius father and how life has changed him. Less prone to violence and quick judgements, I guess you could say he’s mellowed out. What’s a man mean is a question for serious thought and during this powerful time of reckoning, it will be enlightening to see who can admit their past entitlements and abuse of powers. Fire, after all, is the greatest purifier and during this season, only truth will remain.

Originally published at Slutist

Will-o’-the-Wisps & Samhain Season


“The candles are lighted, the hearthstones are swept, the fires glow red. We shall welcome them out of the night, our home-coming dead.” ~ Hallow-E’en 1917 by Winifred M. Letts

The Celtic celebration of Samhain, popularly known as All Hallow’s Eve, is the high holy day of witchcraft, which marked the Celtic new year and is an evening of reflection, honoring the dead and receiving their wise messages from the underworld. Along with magnanimous planet Jupiter firmly placed in Scorpio for the next year, the Sun and Mercury are also residing in the sign of metamorphosis, mastery and regeneration. Heavy, man, as my older hippies friends would say, barely begins to explain how deep the vibes are penetrating this Samhain season.

The importance of light, in both the magic and mundane world, has been on my mind frequently and I found myself having visions of golden lanterns at my usual 4:00am awakening. For some reason, my personal magic hour seems to be at dawn, just before the sun rises, as glimmers of light creep from the East. I find that magic works best during the “in-between” times of day and Samhain marks the beginning of winter and the waning light. Without light, we are forced to rely heavily on our senses and this creates an opportune time and atmosphere to work magic. Many magicians work strictly in a cloak of darkness and this time of year reminds us of the power of light, whether it be a single flickering candle or a blaze of carved pumpkins.


Jack-o-lanterns are a beloved Halloween tradition for all ages and while I partake in it with glee, this year I’m approaching it in a solemn and more ritualistic fashion, since the Scorpionic nature of worldwide events have forced us all to face the bleeding wounds of our soul in order for a revelatory transformation to occur. Originally the Celts in Ireland would carve turnips or gourds, as pumpkins were not local, for protection and warding off evil spirits, placing them on porches and in windows.

The name Jack o’lantern comes from the lore of Stingy Jack, a trick-loving blacksmith who toiled with the Devil, chasing and trapping him up in an apple tree. When Jack died, he would not be admitted into heaven or hell and roamed the earth carrying an ember that could never burn out, courtesy of the Devil, and placed it in a carved out turnip, his favorite food. Jack o’lantern is also referred to as the will-o’-the- wisps, a mysterious misty ghost light that resembles a lantern over swamps, bogs and marshes appearing at night. Scientifically, it is some kind of phosphorescence believed to occur due to a spontaneous combustion of chemicals such as methane or from decomposing matter. Magically the will-o’-the-wisps conjures up faeires, ghosts and all kinds of unexplained phenomena and science can’t exactly explain the entire pale flames dancing above the marshes.


On October 31st after the frivolity of trick-or-treating, bobbing for apples and other parlor games has passed, let the night envelop you and commune with silence. Be aware of the sensual world and light a flame. Carve occult symbols of protection into a pumpkin, rutabaga, potato or gourd, whatever you have access to, and if possible surround yourself in a circle of lanterns. Their light should be the only light illuminating your space and imagine yourself descending towards the bowels of the underworld. If you have a witches flying ointment or oils of mandrake, henbane or belladonna anoint your temples and feet. Incense, oils, or balms, and a glass of good red wine will often set the mood. Think back on last Halloween, how your eyes have opened and what you’re still grappling with one year later. Honor those loved ones who have passed and raise a glass to their memory, perhaps they will visit you in a dream or through a sign of life. Revel in the warmth, guidance and light that these lanterns and the season of Samhain provide.

Originally published on Slutist

Belt Of Venus


When the sky holds a pink hue along the horizon line a few moments before or after sunset, it’s known in stargazer circles as the Belt of Venus. We’ve ushered in Libra season in the Northern Hemisphere with the Autumn Equinox, and much like Venus’s rosy belt, this time of year briefly holds the Sun’s waning glow before we fully descend into fall. For the next month we are asked to dance the delicate choreography of the “in-between” seasons and work on how well we can relate. Dion Fortune wrote about how “the months of the Equinoxes are periods well known to occultists as being times of psychic stress,” which seems to contradict Libra’s outward appearance of being able to multi-task with a smile. Like a stealth ballerina, all children of Venus know how much discipline goes into making things appear harmonious and balanced.


In Greece she’s known as Aphrodite but the Romans called her Venus, and she was a goddess of victory, prostitution and fertility along with her more famous qualities of beauty and love. Venus wear many shades of lipstick and by no means is simply another pretty face. Over the weekend, I was exposed to Venus in all her aspects by way of the 15th annual NYC Burlesque Festival, in which I found myself seduced and electrified by incredible acts of beauty for every palate in the room. My sister by destiny, The World Famous * BOB * has been a personal Venus to me, and watching her host the show, with flawless wit and style, brought me back to a place of abandonment that often comes from watching people reveal. As a former burlesque performer, I will never forget a specific feeling of power and honesty that comes from owning a stage and holding the audience’s eyes, hearts and loins in the palm of your G-string. That evening, all sides of beauty were showcased with a multitude of interpretations, from the brutally handsome butch to voluptuous femmes and everything in between. Onstage the performers proudly shared their own relationships with love, sex and glamour along with political statements, triumphs over abuse, and steamy personal kinks.


As the audience cheered, I thought how appropriate it was that we’ve entered Libra season, famous for her ability to be receptive to everyone’s story, inviting all to the party because she knows it would be boring otherwise. Libra time is about understanding relationships and watching these powerful seductresses onstage made me think about my own relationship to the elusive and subjective meaning of beauty. Who’s your personal Venus and how does she inspire artful, meaningful moment of love in your life? I’ve heard some astrologers say that Leo is a director while Libra is the actor because they want to fully understand the opposite side of the story. Like an actor, take a few moments each day to observe, appreciate and broaden your definition of what makes something or someone beautiful. To act in service of beauty has nothing to do with vanity, although Venus understands that feeling beautiful is a universal desire and need. As my evening of what felt like a Goddess convention ended, I found myself fulfilled with new interpretations of what makes something sexy, funny and otherworldly. Whether it’s by lending a helping hand to someone and seeing their smile or by giving someone a genuine compliment, use Libra’s grace to fill yourself with the spirit of Venus, in all her forms, this season.

Photo Credits: Cat Cabral

Chrysalis Eclipse


Butterfly that flutters in the morning light, you have known many forms before you ever took flight.” —Jamie Sams and David Carson, Medicine Cards.

The last days of summer always contain feelings of bittersweet reflection along with perpetual “back to school” anxiety. For me, summer always meant the freedom to create and to live purely for the moment. Regardless of our fall plans, we are all enrolled in different grades of the school of life. Smack dab in the middle of Lammas season, these final days of summer tell the myth of John Barleycorn, the living spirit of the grain being cut down and sacrificed for the greater good reminding us that everything will die in due time and that seasons of change are unstoppable.


Andrew Wyeth. “Christina’s World,” 1948.

The Total Solar Eclipse feels much more ominous, exposing plagues, chaos and grotesque locusts under average faces. From the Lunar Eclipse earlier in the month up until today’s, we’ve experienced shocking and not so shocking reveals, a Band-Aid that has been hanging on, now ripped wide open unable to conceal the horrific afflictions ailing our nation. Mercury retrograding in perfection-obsessed Virgo only highlights these atrocities and if there’s anything this eclipse season has taught us is that it’s only going to get worse before the healing can begin.

As I write this, I think of history and wonder how much worse will it get. Or has it always been this brutal, and now we are hyper aware of everything happening in real-time and have less time to process, understand and truly think before we act. As the Moon passes the Sun, the divine feminine meets the divine masculine and lightness will be blanketed by shadows. There can be cohesion between opposing entities and a caustic clash of egos. Eclipses are all about the grey area and living within it. This eclipse season has shaken up the personal and political, conscious and unconscious, macro and micro, every level has been asked to stand up and state their truth. What’s yours? It’s time to reveal.

Eclipses are revelatory in their ability to unify and coupled with the New Moon in family oriented Leo; it took a random interview with Bill Nye the Science Guy to remind me of this most important truth. “Let’s celebrate being alive right now, in this universe, and marvel at humankind’s ability to observe this phenomenon, and to understand the cosmos and our place within it.” Our planet and the daily political climate that we live in is changing and challenging us at a terrifying pace. Yet rather than let it paralyze us into a well of hopelessness lets use this magnificent eclipse to remind ourselves of how imperative it is to stay connected in our desire to continue our lives on this beautiful planet that we are so lucky to grace.


All of this was on my mind when an orange butterfly landed directly in front of my face as I strolled to get a morning bagel. This literal symbol of transformation stopped me in my tracks and slowly opened up her larger than expected wings. As we took each other in quietly, I entered into a silent dialogue with this mythical creature. Her wings fluttered ever so slightly and I thought how powerful this silent moment is. Animals appear to us as signs of life, signs of medicine and signs that cannot be ignored. Like the eclipse, the butterfly emerging from its cocoon does not know how the changes will affect her until they have taken place. Like the butterfly we are all in the stage of chrysalis and only with time, awareness and due diligence will our full transformation and liberation take place.

Eclipse Photo Credit: Bill Sollee

Originally published on Slutist