Syndicated from the Web

Fashion Witchery: Gabriela Herstik Unleashes a Guide to the Ancient Craft for the New Generation (And a Giveaway)

by on Sep.10, 2018, under Syndicated from the Web

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I’m writing this introduction waiting for a storm to hit southern Louisiana. The forecasts all day have changed from tropical storm to hurricane as each hour has progressed. The weather has moved across open waters and gained momentum, and it seems appropriate that I now focus on Gabriela Herstik in this moment: a young witch, gaining power and speed in our universe, a truly a force to be reckoned with.

Fashion alchemist, writer, and witch, Gabriela is the Resident Mystic at HelloGiggles, the voice behind the curtain of Nylon’s Ask a Witch monthly column, and is now the Silver Raven Witch for the millennials with her new book, Inner Witch: A Modern Guide to the Ancient Craft. Covering all of the bases from candles, herbs, crystals and tarot, creating and cleansing your sacred space, astrology, moon magic and goddesses, and more, Gabriela tells us:

You Are a Witch.
You Are Made of Magick.


Tell us about your first experience with magic. How old were you? Did you know then that you were a witch or was it something that you grew into?
The first time I experienced magick was when I was around 9 and living in Buffalo, New York. Our family had just finished building a house that was on a half an acre of land, with a small creek and woods behind it. I spent the day outside with my twin sister, playing in the forest and in the creek and collecting flowers. I remember feeling so different than I usually did, like I was in a dream. I was always enchanted with the nature in Buffalo [New York] and playing outside and in the creek became one of my favorite hobbies. Now I look back at my time in Buffalo and realize I was experiencing the magick of the earth for the first time. It was my first foray into the faery realm, and I don’t think I would be who I am without it. I still think about it often. I didn’t realize I was a witch until a few years later, when I was 11 or 12 and living in Atlanta. I had discovered A Witch’s Guide to Faery Folk and remembered going to Salem, MA on Halloween with my family a few years before. It was a near instant connection- I realized I was a witch, and Pagan, and automatically felt like I was coming home.

What are your thoughts on the fad of occultism in fashion ?
Honestly, I live for fashion magick and seeing people utilize fashion as a spiritual resource makes me really happy! BUT what doesn’t make me happy is when 1. It’s fast fashion chains who are co-opting sacred symbols / occult motifs, 2. Its brands who don’t know anything about the motifs they’re using on the clothing. Fast fashion is horrible for the earth and environment and uses sweat shop labor. This is the antithesis of what these sacred symbols and occult practices aim to do- especially those that work with the earth and her cycles. When brands co-opt occultism as a way to be trendy, I feel like they often miss the mark. There’s more to this than just looking cool! But I do love when brands work through an occult lens and do it intentionally and respectfully. Work WITH witches, ask us about our sacred symbols, charge your clothing with crystals, reiki and the moon, use crystals and talismans, work with the elements, use the wheel of the year to guide your releases and shows- there’s so many AMAZING ways to involve both fashion and occultism. HIRE ME TO HELP!!

Who are your writer witch icons? Why ?
Anais Nin, Sybil Leek, Doreen Valiente, Pam Grossman, Lisa Marie Basile, Kristin J Sollee, Starhawk, Patti Smith – there are so many but all of these women inspire my magick, spirit and soul. The witch isn’t static. There isn’t one definition of her that applies to everyone, or every writer. These women use words as witchcraft, weaving the ethereal and ephemeral with the permanent and physical. Each one of them defines the craft in their own way and creates based on that. I think that’s so special.

What would you caution young witches?
Don’t fall into the trap of “black and white” magick. Energy is energy; it is the witch who labels it using her own perspective. But to suggest that something positive or good is white, and something evil or bad is black is racist and oversimplified. Using your power to overthrow someone’s will is not a good luck; but sometimes it’s necessary to protect a group of people, or someone from the harm of an abuser, rapist, racist…etc. Don’t perform love spells on specific people. Don’t casually hex anyone. Learn all you can, practice, do what feels good! Remember that your magick doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s to be valid. Ask your family about their traditions and customs and folklore. Notice what lights you up and makes you feel alive and follow that. Find a trustworthy teacher you trust and learn from them. Oh and don’t forget to have FUN.

Can you share with us a glamor witch ritual that you perform for yourself?
Absolutely! I love basing my makeup off what sign the moon is in, or what my tarot card for the day is. I’ll meditate, do my morning practice and then pull cards or check my moon app, and use this is I’m not feeling inspired with my look. I love wearing pink and red for channeling my matron goddess Venus, or black and kink inspired accessories when I want some extra protection and boundaries. I love red lipstick and a cat eye to embody goddess energy too! I love to take a second at my altar and call upon my ancestors, guides and goddess to protect and bless the clothing and the body they lie upon as a way to embed extra magick into my day. I pair this with wearing talismans for some extra magick as well!

Want to win one of two copies of Gabriela’s new book, Inner Witch? Follow @HauteMacabre and @GabyHerstik on Instagram and then leave a comment below!

We’ll pick two winners at random from the comments one week from today on Monday, September 17, 2018


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Waning Moon Sabat Sale in the Haute Macabre Shop

by on Sep.07, 2018, under Syndicated from the Web

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The Sabbat poster is currently on sale, celebrating the cycle of the Moon from light to dark.

Customers within the USA may take advantage of free shipping of the print with code “Luna”.
Our international friends may use code “Virgo” for 10% off the Sabbat poster.

The Sabbat poster measures 18×24 inches, silk screened in three shades of grey by Monolith Press, and features an original illustration by Jordan Barlow. This is a limited edition poster, and will not be reprinted.

These special codes will be valid throughout the waning period until the New Moon this Sunday, September 9.


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Aural Fixation: The Podcast Edition

by on Sep.06, 2018, under Syndicated from the Web

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Sarah

I’m going to mention two podcasts I have previously written about, because quite frankly, they are the only two I listen to. I have a hard time with podcasts, especially when they are run by more than one person, and especially if those few people are friends. The recording generally devolves into in-jokes and other bits of personal hilarity between the hosts; anecdotes and asides that are probably a hoot for them, but not so much for me, the person who is listening. It feels weird and awkward for me to listen in on that, you know? So, here are two podcasts that don’t trigger my anxiety in that regard. Also, I kind of feel like in the time it takes people to talk about something in the course of a podcast, I could have read three books on the subject, and I just don’t always have that sort of time to spare. (Although I recently learned you can adjust the play speed, so that helps a little. Yes, I really did just learn that. I’m kind of a luddite.)

Bad Books For Bad People My two incredible friends Tenebrous Kate and Jack Guignol host this monthly reckoning covering the weirdest, kinkiest, and most outrageous fiction that they can unearth. The books discussed range from “classics of gothic literature to startling works of new weird, from romantic potboilers to horror epics, from cult favorites to obscure pulp treasures.” I think they’d laugh if I shared this with them, but in listening to them examine and explore even the most outlandish and ridiculous titles on their shelves, you actually come away feeling smarter for having heard their insights and understandings of the material, the author and their œuvre, and the era in which the work was written, etc. Of course, then you also get delightful episodes such as no. 15, “Book Battle – Nerd Nostalgia vs. Post-Millennial Angst,” wherein they each assign to the other a book that they know they will hate, and which culminates in a delightful, spiteful airing of grievances–and I don’t know about you, but I find it an utter treat to listen to people work themselves up into a fine froth about the things which they vehemently despise. But this podcast is much more than friends hating stuff–as a matter of fact, they often end up surprised, and loving their selections, or talking about a book they’ve both read before and which holds great meaning for them. This is good too, for believe it or not, the snarky thrill derived from people talking about shit they hate is trumped by the excitement and wonder you experience when you hear folks discuss something they adore. Like me, for example. I adore both Kate and Jack and I adore Bad Books For Bad People– a podcast, which despite its name, makes the world (my world, at least!) a better place.

The Witch Wave I have written previously on The Witch Wave, Pam Grossman’s sonic coven of witchy fabulosity where “art is magic, magic is real, and reality is stranger than dreams,” and which explores and celebrates the idea that creativity, art, and magic is all in deep, delicious relationship with each other. In each episode, Pam engages in insightful and illuminating conversations with today’s leading visionaries (and quite often, some of our very favorites: Bri Luna! Kristen Solee! Louisianna Purchase! Katy Horan! Bill Crisafi & Hogan McLaughlin!) about the relationship between magic and creativity. Some of her guests are witches–literal practitioners, or perhaps those who simply identify with the archetype or the energy of the witch in their own lives. Guests also include artists, writers, scholars and other luminaries who somehow incorporate magic or the concept of magic into their work.  Pam enthuses that ,“the world is filled with bewitching people…and you might be one, too!” And I guarantee you’ll come away from each episode fervently believing that.

Sam

I’ve recently moved from the city out to the country, and am still commuting into the city daily for work. Podcasts and audiobooks are keeping me sane on the drives, as my Spotify daily mixes seem to only play the same five songs in a different order over and over again. I’m extraordinarily picky, though, as I agree with Sarah on having a difficult time listening to hosts chatter away on unscripted tangents: I get annoyed, the same way you get annoyed when you overhear someone talking loudly into their cell phone in an otherwise quiet environment. These selections satisfy my short temper and my even shorter attention span.

Unexplained Podcast: “A show that explores the space between what we think of as real and what is not.  Where the unknown and paranormal meets the most radical ideas in science today…” My absolute favorite podcast. Although it isn’t as prolific, it far surpasses Lore, providing quality over quantity (and for some reason, I can’t stop envisioning that the Lore narrator wears khaki pants while recording the episodes). There’s a 2-3 part episode on Jack Parsons and Marjorie Cameron that were superb, along with in depth accounts of poltergeist activity, UFOs, mummy curses, and other mysteries.

Sword & Scale: S&S satisfies the same aspect of my psyche that forced me to leave Law & Order SVU on in the background for a bit over a decade, and also leads me to believe that I’m going to die a horrible, violent death at the hands of a strange man. I do wish that the narrator would narrate a bit more and omit some of the lengthy sound effects (and some of the lengthy testimonies), but overall it’s well produced and horrific.

Tarot for the Wild Soul: Lindsey Mack’s excelled weekly (biweekly?) podcast on the Tarot, providing the listeners with detailed episodes on individual cards and their meanings and relationships to one another, in addition to interviews with other readers, and monthly medicines. To be perfectly honest, this podcast took me a bit to get into, the first few episodes were a tiny bit love and light and giving yourself permission to have a sip of tea for me, but I eventually looked past that because of Lindsey’s expertise and unique lessons.

Saved by a Spell : Marcella Kroll’s DIY production, which sadly seems to have ended. Here she discusses astro happenings, psychic protection, cord cutting, and the like. I’ve scheduled a reading with her on her upcoming trip to New Orleans because of how much I like her from this podcast & her zine.

Looking forward to: Death in the Afternoon, an upcoming podcast from The Order of the Good Death members Caitlin Doughty, Sarah Chavez, and Louise Hung.

Featured art: “Crossroads” by Yanni Floros


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Aural Fixation: The Podcast Edition

by on Sep.06, 2018, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from | Go to Original Post

Sarah

I’m going to mention two podcasts I have previously written about, because quite frankly, they are the only two I listen to. I have a hard time with podcasts, especially when they are run by more than one person, and especially if those few people are friends. The recording generally devolves into in-jokes and other bits of personal hilarity between the hosts; anecdotes and asides that are probably a hoot for them, but not so much for me, the person who is listening. It feels weird and awkward for me to listen in on that, you know? So, here are two podcasts that don’t trigger my anxiety in that regard. Also, I kind of feel like in the time it takes people to talk about something in the course of a podcast, I could have read three books on the subject, and I just don’t always have that sort of time to spare. (Although I recently learned you can adjust the play speed, so that helps a little. Yes, I really did just learn that. I’m kind of a luddite.)

Bad Books For Bad People My two incredible friends Tenebrous Kate and Jack Guignol host this monthly reckoning covering the weirdest, kinkiest, and most outrageous fiction that they can unearth. The books discussed range from “classics of gothic literature to startling works of new weird, from romantic potboilers to horror epics, from cult favorites to obscure pulp treasures.” I think they’d laugh if I shared this with them, but in listening to them examine and explore even the most outlandish and ridiculous titles on their shelves, you actually come away feeling smarter for having heard their insights and understandings of the material, the author and their œuvre, and the era in which the work was written, etc. Of course, then you also get delightful episodes such as no. 15, “Book Battle – Nerd Nostalgia vs. Post-Millennial Angst,” wherein they each assign to the other a book that they know they will hate, and which culminates in a delightful, spiteful airing of grievances–and I don’t know about you, but I find it an utter treat to listen to people work themselves up into a fine froth about the things which they vehemently despise. But this podcast is much more than friends hating stuff–as a matter of fact, they often end up surprised, and loving their selections, or talking about a book they’ve both read before and which holds great meaning for them. This is good too, for believe it or not, the snarky thrill derived from people talking about shit they hate is trumped by the excitement and wonder you experience when you hear folks discuss something they adore. Like me, for example. I adore both Kate and Jack and I adore Bad Books For Bad People– a podcast, which despite its name, makes the world (my world, at least!) a better place.

The Witch Wave I have written previously on The Witch Wave, Pam Grossman’s sonic coven of witchy fabulosity where “art is magic, magic is real, and reality is stranger than dreams,” and which explores and celebrates the idea that creativity, art, and magic is all in deep, delicious relationship with each other. In each episode, Pam engages in insightful and illuminating conversations with today’s leading visionaries (and quite often, some of our very favorites: Bri Luna! Kristen Solee! Louisianna Purchase! Katy Horan! Bill Crisafi & Hogan McLaughlin!) about the relationship between magic and creativity. Some of her guests are witches–literal practitioners, or perhaps those who simply identify with the archetype or the energy of the witch in their own lives. Guests also include artists, writers, scholars and other luminaries who somehow incorporate magic or the concept of magic into their work.  Pam enthuses that ,“the world is filled with bewitching people…and you might be one, too!” And I guarantee you’ll come away from each episode fervently believing that.

Sam

I’ve recently moved from the city out to the country, and am still commuting into the city daily for work. Podcasts and audiobooks are keeping me sane on the drives, as my Spotify daily mixes seem to only play the same five songs in a different order over and over again. I’m extraordinarily picky, though, as I agree with Sarah on having a difficult time listening to hosts chatter away on unscripted tangents: I get annoyed, the same way you get annoyed when you overhear someone talking loudly into their cell phone in an otherwise quiet environment. These selections satisfy my short temper and my even shorter attention span.

Unexplained Podcast: “A show that explores the space between what we think of as real and what is not.  Where the unknown and paranormal meets the most radical ideas in science today…” My absolute favorite podcast. Although it isn’t as prolific, it far surpasses Lore, providing quality over quantity (and for some reason, I can’t stop envisioning that the Lore narrator wears khaki pants while recording the episodes). There’s a 2-3 part episode on Jack Parsons and Marjorie Cameron that were superb, along with in depth accounts of poltergeist activity, UFOs, mummy curses, and other mysteries.

Sword & Scale: S&S satisfies the same aspect of my psyche that forced me to leave Law & Order SVU on in the background for a bit over a decade, and also leads me to believe that I’m going to die a horrible, violent death at the hands of a strange man. I do wish that the narrator would narrate a bit more and omit some of the lengthy sound effects (and some of the lengthy testimonies), but overall it’s well produced and horrific.

Tarot for the Wild Soul: Lindsey Mack’s excelled weekly (biweekly?) podcast on the Tarot, providing the listeners with detailed episodes on individual cards and their meanings and relationships to one another, in addition to interviews with other readers, and monthly medicines. To be perfectly honest, this podcast took me a bit to get into, the first few episodes were a tiny bit love and light and giving yourself permission to have a sip of tea for me, but I eventually looked past that because of Lindsey’s expertise and unique lessons.

Saved by a Spell : Marcella Kroll’s DIY production, which sadly seems to have ended. Here she discusses astro happenings, psychic protection, cord cutting, and the like. I’ve scheduled a reading with her on her upcoming trip to New Orleans because of how much I like her from this podcast & her zine.

Looking forward to: Death in the Afternoon, an upcoming podcast from The Order of the Good Death members Caitlin Doughty, Sarah Chavez, and Louise Hung.

Featured art: “Crossroads” by Yanni Floros


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Stacked August 2018

by on Sep.05, 2018, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from | Go to Original Post

Sarah

The Royal Art of Poison: Filthy Palaces, Fatal Cosmetics, Deadly Medicine, and Murder Most Foul by Eleanor Herman. This was our inaugural selection for a group that a friend and I started over on Good Reads, “Nonfiction For The Senses“– a “virtual book club to indulge in non-fiction books about all things relating to the senses, mostly focusing on the history, lore and science around them, as well as books celebrating obsessions with anything like perfumes, potions, intriguing sounds, textiles and textures, and delicious foods. ” And what a marvelous book to kick things off with! The Royal Art of Poison was absolutely fantastic and rife with fascinating facts and revolting revelations. In this book we examine the deaths of royal personages throughout history and examine the question–was it poison? Or was it just their excessive use of arsenic-based cosmetics, maybe a latent case of tuberculosis, or ghosts in their blood or something? Revealed with a tone of wry wit and gossipy relish, Herman shares with us how folks lived in ye olden days, including the usage of garbagey nonsense medicines, the general lack of knowledge regarding sickness and disease, and the appallingly unhygienic living conditions –“unsanitary” is really an understatement in the extreme. Take a look, for example, at the chapter regarding the palace of Versailles and be glad that all your lazy partner does is miss the toilet a little when he pees. At least he uses a toilet. Hell, at least he pees in the bathroom! Another thing I found kind of hilarious was the lengths to which the monarchy and persons of  prominent social standing would go to in order to avoid being poisoned (which is really eye-opening to how shitty a king they must have known they were and how much they deserved poisoning!) But even if their poison sniffing courtiers or the waving of their magical unicorn horns saved them, chances were they’d die from poorly cooked food, diseases and filthy living conditions, medications and cosmetics containing poisons, or doctors using excessive bleeding, purging, and other treatments, anyway. What a time to be alive!

The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery. I thought this was a remarkably special book for its enthusiasm on the subject of these beautiful, curious, and yes, oftentimes dangerous creatures, as well as the bounty of information it provided–so I was quite honestly surprised to see that a lot of reviewers thought that it wasn’t “sciency” enough, or that the facts seemed a little thin. (Granted, I read this book not knowing much about octopuses except that have eight arms… so any information at all was news to me.) This is a highly personal account wherein Montgomery shares her journey of studying octopuses, and the sense of wonder and delight she derives from interacting with, and “getting to know” these strange, sentient cephalopods. I suspect there’s probably a great deal of conjecture on the part of the author, though, when it comes to attributing characteristics such as “joy” or “affection” to what might amount to captive beasts of no small amount of intelligence merely responding to a bit of stimulation in an otherwise boring environment. We do, however, see octopuses push people away, pull them closer, tease people, lash out, weaken, die, expand and thrive. Octopuses change shape, change color, express pleasure and loneliness and longing. Do octopuses have a soul? In this regard, it’s an inconclusive read. Who can say? At the very least, as far as I am concerned, they’re off the menu on my future sushi dates.

Philosophy, Pussycats, and Porn by Stoya. I have some thoughts about this series of essays and blog posts from writer, actor, and pornographer Stoya– a personality, and human, whom I deeply admire (at least when it comes to her work and writings. I have never met her, and do not know her personally.) However, I’m not sure I can convey my thoughts articulately and in a way that I feel that this book deserves. On one hand, it’s an intensely intimate look at someone’s reflections and ruminations, musings and meditations… and not in any sort of cleaned-up-and-sanitized-for-public-consumption kind of way, either. Several of these essays are close to what I consider stream of consciousness writing, in the sense that someone who is trying to work something out for themselves, internally, might scribble down nebulous notions and obscure observations, so that when they see these ideas begin to coalesce in black and white, in front of their eyes, they can say, “aha! That’s what it all means!” Stoya writes on issues regarding pornography, sex work, and sex education as they relate to privacy, censorship, and the media etc., and it’s a fascinating glimpse into a thought process from someone who is deeply involved in these issues and really knows what she’s talking about. On the other hand, some of these writings are almost too intimate, too personal–almost as if they were plucked from a diary and a larger narrative, to now stand alone on a page; secret slices of life, raw, rough, unfinished, and very much out of context for a reader who is on the outside, with a very limited view for which to look in. These are the stories wherein perhaps a first name is mentioned…maybe a friend, a lover, a coworker… and we see a small interaction between Stoya and this individual–a coffee and a smoke, a heady fling, a reconciliation–and I wonder…am I supposed to know who these people are? Does it matter? Why was this specific moment in time, with this specific person, given mention? In her other essays, in which we are allowed to see the inner workings of Stoya debating with herself and sussing out answers on the aforementioned various issues, these shared writings feel like a privilege, almost a peek behind the veil. However, the more personal anecdotes and reminiscences make me feel like a peeping tom, and not in a titillating way, but it’s a rather uncomfortable, left-out feeling, like, “why am I being allowed to witness this?”

House of Women by Sophie Goldstein is a starkly beautiful graphic novel, and a loose adaptation of the 1947 film Black Narcissus, a psychological drama about the emotional tensions of jealousy and lust within a convent of nuns in an isolated valley in the Himalayas. Except that House of Women takes place in the much more foreign environs of what is ostensibly another planet (?) and the “nuns” are attempting to convert the local alien populace. As with most of these stories, it goes about as well as one might expect.

Circe by Madeline Miller. As someone who spent ages 8-10 obsessed with Greek mythology and constantly daydreamed about what life was like amongst the Olympians both major and minor, as well as the thrilling exploits, intrigues, and adventures of their progeny, I was super excited about Circe when I first heard of the book’s publication… and it took until I was two chapters in to realize that I was not, in fact, reading a story about Cassandra. Not sure how I got them mixed up. Whoops! At any rate, it was a happy mistake, as I would much rather have read an imaginative retelling about the solitary island-dwelling sorceress who turned pervy, plundering sailors into pigs than the seeress cursed to utter prophecies which were true but which no one believed, (and which I’d already read in a book titled Firebrand, by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Also, I don’t know about you, but even years later, I am still reeling with regard to hearing the brutal, vicious accounts of abuse that MZB’s daughter suffered at her hands. It’s heartbreaking. It’s always devastating to learn that your hero is, in fact, a monster, isn’t it? Ugh.) At any rate…Circe. Born of the Titan Helios and Oceanid, Perse, Circe is a lonely, willful nymph whose reinterpreted story in the hands of Madeline Miller is a breathtaking, compelling tale, and one of the loveliest things I have read in a very long time.

North American Lake Monsters by Nathan Ballingrud. I am making a concerted effort to pay more attention to the books languishing on my shelves which I’d bought for the purpose of “summer reading” several summers ago (and subsequent summers, since). So far I am working on purchases from 2015. Shameful! But better late than never! North American Lake Monsters is a collection of short stories the likes of which I am not quite sure I’ve encountered before. There are monsters in some these stories; sometimes the monsters are monsters and sometimes they are just flawed and horrible people. Sometimes, even if there is a monster, it’s just a weird, rotting carcass that has washed up from the lake, but you’re an ex-con whose family is falling apart and you just don’t have time to deal with that kind of thing. Sometimes you’re a kid who has a vampire living under your house who has promised to turn you into an undead bloodsucker, if you keep your promise to invite him into your home. Maybe you’re a drunk and destitute, with no home at all, haunted by the ghost of your hurricane ravaged city. Or perhaps you’re just an ignorant kid, with a strangely terrible home life, and running with the wrong crowd. These stories are bleak, full of more ruin than redemption, and oftentimes ending before you’ve gotten the sense that they’d even begun. I found this an oddly hypnotic read, which I hesitate to call “enjoyable”, due, I suppose to just the very nature of the stories, but that I found pleasure in reading, nonetheless.

Sam


We’ll Be The Last Ones to Let You Down
Via the BloodMilk Book Club
I enjoyed this without feeling strongly about it. Saying that feels like a copout for a review, but can’t a book exist to read quickly over your morning coffee? It was a perfect companion for that, a story I went through quickly and enjoyably.

WTF is Tarot? …& How Do I Do It
This guide was such a refreshing surprise. I fully admit that when I first heard about it, I rolled my eyes and muttered “fucking millennials”. It proved me the F wrong. Each card has an insightful interpretation with a personal anecdote, making it an approachable and comprehensive guide that I wholly recommend for both new and experienced Tarot readers.

Dead Girls
I really, truly, honestly hated this book. The author whines on for 276 pages about her obsession with Brittney Spears and Tiger Beat pop stars and her consistently shitty housing situation in Los Angeles. The last essay is spent trashing Joan Didion for romanticizing LA and giving the author an unfair expectation of life there as a writer. I’m annoyed at myself for actually finishing this.

South and West Joan Didion:

In New Orleans in June the air is heavy with sex and death, not violent death but death by decay, overripeness, rotting, death by drowning, suffocation, fever of unknown etiology. The place is psychically dark, dark like the negative of a photograph, dark like an x-ray: the atmosphere absorbs its own light, never reflects light but sucks it in until random objects glow with a morbid luminescence. The crypts above the ground dominate certain vistas. In the hypnotic liquidity of the atmosphere all motion slows into choreography, all people on the street move as if suspended in a precarious emulsion, and there seems only a technical distinction between the quick and the dead.

She’s perfect.

The first time I read this, I was sitting on my porch at an old house from the mid 1800s that I was renting in the city, and I’ve revisited this introduction countless times since. You can see why I take great offense to anyone talking shit on her.

Just Kids & M Train: Patti Smith
If you haven’t read these, just go do it now. Start with Just Kids, and let the romantic idealism of NYC in the late 60s and early 70s inspire you. The perfect setting within the lobby of the Chelsea Hotel, with Dali and Hendrix and Joplin wandering in and Patti’s poetic voice leading you through her muses and loves and her longing for freedom in art.

M Train is less inspirational, but nonetheless a fantastic memoir, and absolutely worth your time and attention. I only say less inspiration because it is not as relatable as Just Kids – she is now an iconic rockstar with endless financial means to allow her the luxury of travel on a whim. She maintains her original purpose, though – an ever ending endeavor for art, traveling the world to document it on her Polaroid Land Camera 270 (find a copy of Camera Solo for her images). M Train is a love letter to art and artists’ objects, coffee, and crime drama TV shows, which Patti Smith somehow transforms from the mundane to the inspirational.

I had a beautiful moment last month with these: I brought both with me to Mexico City, wanting to revisit the passage in M Train where Patti visits Casa Azul and photographs Frida’s death mask on her bed, and decided that they should be a pair always. Just Kids was in my bag while we took an hour long bus ride to the ancient pyramids, and opening it, I discovered my copy was signed, a forgotten gift from an old friend. The following day, I stood over Frida’s bed and thought of Patti doing the same thing, and how there’s a universal thread of inspiration that we all share.

I read these two (again) back to back, and then listened to the audio book versions, which are narrated by Patti Smith herself. You feel as if you’re sitting in her favorite cafe with her being personally told her history, and it’s perfect.

Devotion
Twice I have read this, and twice I have set it down in the second half. I am more interested in the artist here than I am the art.

A reading list based off of Patti Smith’s memoirs, many of which I have read and some of which I have not:
Max’s Kansas City
Murakami The Wind Up Bird Chronicles
Jean Genet The Thief’s Journal
Rimbaud Illuminations
William Blake Songs of Innocence
Eugene Atgèt: Paris
Jim Carroll Forced Entries (which I actually favor over The Basketball Diaries)

Maika

Meaty: Essays by Samantha Irby. Why yes, I am a great big fibber. Last month, when I reviewed Samantha Irby’s most recent book, We are Never Meeting in Real Life.: Essays, I stated that, even though I enjoyed it tremendously, I was going to hold off on purchasing her first book, Meaty, until I’d made some progress on my stacks. LIES. I’m pretty sure I went ahead and procured a copy Meaty that same day. I REGRET NOTHING. As for my review of Meaty, I’ll simply refer you to my previous review of We Are Never Meeting in Real Life and add that this book is every bit as hilarious and heartbreaking as its follow-up. So, if you’re interested in reading Samantha Irby’s work, just buy it all now. Buy it all, get some snacks, find your favorite cozy reading spot, and just have at it. Also, make sure you’ve got some sort of internet-connected device to hand so that, once you’re done with the books, you can start binging on the archives of Irby’s blog, Bitches Gotta Eat. Then you can join me in eagerly awaiting her third book, which she’s writing presently.

The People in the Castle: Selected Strange Stories by Joan Aiken. When our own lovely S.Elizabeth pulls you aside and says, “You must read this book!” you get at least as excited as when she recommends a specific fragrance for you. Few people have such an uncanny knack for taking in what they know of a person and their tastes and perfectly pairing them with all sorts of wondrous things. Sarah also beautifully reviewed this very same book last month and I don’t think I could possibly top her own enticing descriptions, nor do I want to spoil any of the individual stories. But I will say that any collection of short stories edited and introduced by Kelly Link (as well as Joan Aiken’s daughter, Lizza), one of my very favorite short story writers, is a collection well worth your time. Also, when a book contains not one but TWO ghost doggos (in two very different stories, no less), you know it’s something special. There are so many flavors of fantastic creativity happening in these stories that I am utterly enchanted by Joan Aiken. I know I’m late to her oeuvre, but now that I’m here, I can’t wait to read more of her work.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. This marks the second time I’ve read Shirley Jackson’s masterwork of haunted house fiction, though describing it as a haunted house story is a serious oversimplification. One might think that, having already read the book, it couldn’t be anywhere near as unsettling or outright frightening as it was the first time. Yet it turns out that I found my second vicarious visit to one of literature’s most malevolent abodes even scarier than the first. Perhaps because I already knew the story, knew what was going to happen during each strange day and each malefic night, I was able to soak up more of Jackson’s finely crafted atmosphere and pay closer attention to the actions of and interactions between her characters. I’m even less certain now about how much of the sinister goings in Hill House were the work of the house itself or were members of the small group of strangers, brought together with the purpose of exploring its labyrinthine halls, messing with each other. Or, perhaps one of their party was simply the perfect vessel for the malevolence that resides within the corrupt walls of Hill House. That I’m even more unsure this time around just makes me love the book and appreciate Shirley Jackson’s mind and skill even more.

Erin

The Southern Sympathy Cookbook by Perre Coleman Magness

The link between cookbooks and spellbooks is often overlooked, and The Southern Sympathy Cookbook is a kitchen witches’ grimoire without ever meaning to be.  Death and food are deeply intertwined in Southern culture, and this book explores the rituals and recipes connecting them, not as a cultural anthropologist would, but with the love and understanding of someone who has spent a lifetime meeting tragedy with exactly the right casserole. There is no better magic than the ability to heal the broken heart, and this is the soul of funeral cooking- comfort, warmth, love, and the lifting for a moment of the weight of grief with the right combination of words and ingredients.

featured image:  Madonna at Farley’s Prop House in London with photographer Lorenzo Agius, 2005


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Gothtober 2018 Artists Announced!

by on Sep.01, 2018, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from The Gothtober Blog | Go to Original Post

The Jack o’ Lantern has SPOKEN!

By pumpkins fat and witches lean, by coal black cats with eyes of green, by all the magic ever seen, we’ve got our ghouls for HALLOWEEN!

Now the circle has been cast, 31 artworks built to last, boiling potions in cauldron’s deep, conjuring magic as you sleep!

When the clock strikes midnight October 1st, our countdown begins, a new surprise by a different artist launched each day until Halloween. Our SIXTEENTH autumn assemblage will contain films, crafts, recipes and goodies of all kinds bringing a cornucopia of strange delights to your phone, your tablet, your desktop screeeeeeeaaaaammmmsssss! (Oops, I meant screens, lol.)

1 – Teri Gamble
2 – Mat Katz
3 – Serafine and Daphna
4 – Yuki Okada
5 – Marquis Howell
6 – Del Norte
7 – Family Thomas
8 – David LeBarron
9 – Pauly G
10 – Ian MacKinnon
11 – Coral Lobera

12 – Ash
13 – Michael Gump
14 – Danny Torrance
15 – Lori Meeker
16 – Chris Baughman
17 – Gordon Vandenburg
18 – Rick Orner
19 – Mellocreme Fairchild III
20 – Family Fisher
21 – Francis and Clyde
22 – Federico Tobon

23 – Jenny Walsh
24 – Family Chambers
25 – Jenn Paige Gordon
26 – Family Waller
27 – Molly Allis
28 – Kimberly Kim
29 – Bona Bones
30 – Barry Morse
31 – Kristen Erickson

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Dolls Kill Labor Day Sale!

by on Sep.01, 2018, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from | Go to Original Post

I’m honestly starting to believe that Dolls Kill has some sort of alert set up so that they time their site wide sales with whenever I’m doing a No Buy Month, and Im forced to window shop until my credit card trigger finger starts spasming.

Here’s my current wish list (and it’s a doozy):

Wicked Ways Spider Web Boots
these are just screaming to be in Jen Von Haunt’s wardrobe

Valentine Doll Dress
I unashamedly admit I will never stop loving 90s era Courtney Love dresses

Night’s Still Young Star Tulle Skirt
How to Wear: Cosmic Frolicing Edition

Raven’s Night Leggings

Prairie Princess Floral Dress
All the 90s Vibes!

Ever After Leggings
à la Neil Gaiman Death

Poison Pointy Combat Boots
On the hunt for vegan boots for the winter!

Nightfly Burnout Velvet
Stevie would approve

Key of Life Ankh Wallet
Everyone needs a wallet, even the Endless

Scarlet Dress
Goth Girl Boss

Morning Mimosas Platform Sandals
For my inner Disco Witch

Losing My Religion Sheer Tights
careful not to wear out the knees with all that praying

Lethal Bite Embroidered Wallet

Crushed Step Thigh High Socks
Crushed Velvet everything forever

City of Sin Captain Hat

Cathedral Arch Leggings
One must scream Off With Their Heads while wearing these


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Major Arcana: Witches in America

by on Aug.31, 2018, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from | Go to Original Post

Celebrating the reclamation of the word “witch”,  Frances F. Denny photographed a diverse group of women around the country (including genderfluid and trans individuals) that identify as various incarnations of the archetype.

Major Arcana explores the various ways the notion of witch-ness belongs to those who claim it, representing the witch as a self-sought identity that both empowers and politicizes its bearer.

Each image is a poignant portrait of the subject: there are few props and little staging, and each image is lit with ambient natural light portraying its Witch in her natural environment. Some stare directly into the camera, focusing their attention directly at you, and some are looking off, as if channeling some unknown force and convening with their elements. The individuals depicted each carry a gravity, reinforcing the magnitude of power that is within the modern era of witchcraft that we are currently experiencing.

Major Arcana: Witches in America opens on October 4 at Clamp Art Gallery in NYC, the exhibit will be up through November 24.


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