Hi, everyone! Since this is the first installment of this new Very Good Light advice column, The G-Spot, allow me to introduce myself. I’m Garrett Munce, editor-at-large for VGL, and I am curious AF. I have over a decade of experience in fashion and grooming editorial and have literally written the book on self-care (you can get it here). Throughout those years, I’ve never run out of questions to ask. That’s why I’m excited to start this monthly series where I get to investigate your questions, whether they’re about grooming, beauty, self-care, or anything in between. I’ll do my best to answer them myself and I’ll sometimes pull in a few expert friends to weigh in as well. I’m excited to hear what you’re curious about so go ahead and submit your questions and you may see them in a future installment of The G-Spot.
Since this column is kicking off during SPOOKY SZN, we’re going to start with something a little different.
You might have noticed that witches are having a moment. Not like a “it’s October so let’s put on our witch hats and get pumpkin spice lattes” moment, but like a full-on “hex the patriarchy” moment. Halloween may be the season of the witch, but the last few years have shown that witches and witchcraft are full-on cultural movements. There are hundreds of IG accounts dedicated to crystals, tarot, astrology, candles; there are Etsy shops selling witchy paraphernalia year-round; people like The Hoodwitch and Chani Nicholas have become cultural icons; there are 5.1 BILLION views on #witchtok.
Witches have emerged from the broom closet to become spiritual and cultural leaders, but there is still a lot of mystery around who they are, what they do, and what being a witch in 2020 actually means. That’s where I come in. See, not only am I a beauty editor, but I am also a witch and I’ve written about my experience for this site before. Whether you’re interested in casting your own circle or just learning a little more about your sun sign, here’s what you need to know.
Wait, but what exactly is a witch?
You may think of the Wicked Witch of the West flying around on her broom, or the Sanderson Sisters hunting for children, or power-hungry Nancy from “The Craft” or the wild-haired, sex-obsessed trio from “The Witches of Eastwick.” Witches are all over our culture and honestly, until recently, portrayals have always been slightly negative. Witches have always been portrayed as others – women, usually, who choose power over convention and that choice comes with a price.
In reality, there is no one true definition of a witch. These days, a witch is mostly a self-identified term. There are thousands of ways into witchcraft and one of the keys to understanding is that, unlike other spiritual paths, there is no one centralized text or conversion process. There is no single dominant sect, tradition, or dogma.
Witches tap into the power of nature, the earth, and the universe in order to access their spirituality. Yes, they honor divinity, but that divinity may be different depending on what witches you talk to. And in many cases, unless you are hoping to be a part of a specific witchcraft tradition, there aren’t really any standards you have to meet in order to call yourself a witch. As a spirituality, witchcraft is deeply personal, and taking on the moniker is a choice only you can make for yourself.
Oh, and for the record, witches don’t eat children.
How can I get into witchcraft?
Since there is no one text or dogma for witches (like the Bible), how you chose to learn about witchcraft is a personal choice. It could be starting to learn about tarot cards, it could be studying astrology, it could be taking up meditation. It could be lighting a candle and praying to the full moon. It’s not like you need to sign up for a class or attend a conversion program (though, those do exist if that’s more comfortable for you).
I asked my friend Cat Cabral, Wiccan high priestess and author of “The Spells Deck,” what she recommends. Cabral has been teaching and leading public rituals for over a decade. “An easy way to begin is by learning about the Wheel of the Year, the eight sabbats (holidays) that many witches revere,” she told me. “Many of these festive days are older and synonymous with holidays already; Samhain/Halloween and Yule/Christmas, for example.”
Since witchcraft, particularly what we refer to as Wicca, is a nature-based spirituality, most of the holy days fall on equinoxes and solstices. Paying attention to the cycles of the moon is also helpful. If you’re already charging your crystals on the full moon, you’re basically there.
Cabral also recommends creating an altar for yourself. This isn’t necessarily a place to kneel down and worship a deity (unless, of course, you want to). It’s more about giving yourself “a dedicated space for magical work,” she says. “An altar is a comforting place that is entirely your own where you can reflect on goals, dreams, and sacred desires.”
Your altar could be a windowsill, a fireplace, the top of a dresser, a nightstand – it doesn’t have to be fancy, but what is important is that it means something to you. Populate it with things that mean something to you – crystals, trinkets, pictures of friends or family, candles, incense, whatever you want!
Finally, if you’re truly interested in witchcraft, you have to read. Cabral suggests reading a wide variety of books on the topic. There might not be one centralized text for witches, but there are hundreds (thousands!) of books about every aspect of witchcraft you can think of.
Some of my favorite books for beginners are “Power of the Witch” by Laurie Cabot,”Drawing Down the Moon” by Margot Adler, “Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner” by Scott Cunningham. I still go back to these books years after I first read them. I also love Cabral’s own “Spells Deck” and believe it’s a perfect way to learn about witchcraft. Each card has information about an aspect of The Craft and contains fun, easy spells and meditations for beginners.
What is a spell? Is there a beauty spell?
Just like there is no one type of witch, there is no one type of spell. A spell could be anything: lighting a candle, singing a song, tying a knot, meditating in a bath, baking a cake. But what makes something a spell is intent. At its most basic, a spell is a prayer. As Cabral says, “a spell is a wish or a plea to yourself and the universe for something you wish to manifest; it’s a way to create an opportunity for magic to occur.”
Getting a spell from a book is great—and there are millions out there—but sometimes spells are best when they’re simple and they come from the heart. As you learn more, spells will become more intuitive, but at first, it’s best to start simple.
Case in point: for a beauty spell, it’s easy to turn something you’re probably already doing into a potent magical ritual. Baths are great for spellwork because they are relaxing, sure, but also allow you to connect with the mind and body in a very specific way. Cabral suggests this:
On a Friday—the day of Venus, the Roman goddess of love, beauty, and harmony—draw a warm bath. Add rose petals, jasmine flowers, and/or lavender buds, along with a splash of milk (any kind) and drops of honey or molasses. Soak in the tub with these precious herbs and take the time to caress, massage, and celebrate your body.
One thing witches know is that true beauty comes from within and from loving yourself. That’s why many beauty spells aren’t about beautifying, but rather unlocking inner beauty and embracing self-love. I love this beauty spell from Cabral’s Spells Deck because it’s powerful but still fairly easy.
“Bewitching beauty truly comes from routine self-love, care, and celebration. Create this butter for a daily dose of glamor magic.”
– 1/4 cup cocoa butter
– 1 Tbsp grated beeswax
– 1 Tbsp coconut oil
– 1 Tbsp avocado oil
– 2 Tbsp sesame oil
– 3 drops amber oil
– 2 drops vanilla oil
– 1-2 drops of ylang-ylang oil
*The oils can be switched out and replaced with any scent(s) you find intoxicating and beautiful.
Combine the cocoa butter, beeswax, and oils in an ovenproof glass container. Place the container in warm water and let the ingredients melt. Pour into a jar and stir as the butter cools, adding in essential oils. Once cooled, lovingly massage from your feet up and chant. “I am blessed with alluring toes, legs, arms, and chest.”