Witches, Wellness and Feminism: A Q+A with the Author of Light Magic for Dark Times
Self-care is something we need to take seriously. How often have you temporarily set aside your wellness to meet the demands of your schools, jobs, or an excessively needy — or bossy and demanding — individual in your lives? Life’s competing demands can all take a heavy toll on us, and that's true even when things run smoothly.
But once that precarious balance is tested, it can feel all too easy to fall apart. Too often, our busy schedules prevent us from taking regular time to connect within, taking us beyond healthy territory and into the domain of unregulated stress. Unless, of course, you have a plan.
Lisa Marie Basile's new book, Light Magic for Dark Times: 100 Spells, Rituals, and Self-Care Practices for Coping in a Crisis is something of a psycho-educational milestone in pop culture. We can all benefit from learning a few wellness-promoting strategies to keep our inner peace (er, sanity) when we're faced with added stressors.
Guided by her spiritual wisdom, intuition, and uncanny understanding of human nature, everyone can learn to check-in with their inner-states — and get started on their individual path to wellness — with the help of her fabulously witchy, self-care guide book, available for purchase on September 11 in the US and September 13 abroad.
Below, read my Q+A with Lisa Marie Basile, author, editor, and founder of the feminist publication, Luna Luna Magazine.
Photo via Luna Luna Magazine
Q+A with the Author, Lisa Marie Basile
Jessica Ourisman: What inspired you to write Light Magic for Dark Times?
Lisa Marie Basile: The inspiration came from so many places. The relevant/timely inspiration came from where the world is at right now. The country is so traumatized, for one. People around me are starting to explore real, sustainable self-care as a way to not only cope with change and pain, but to thrive despite it (or because of it).
The more personal inspiration was that I wanted to put a wellness spin on rituals. That felt really important to me. I wanted to write something that was less about "making money" (as you see in some rituals and magical books) and more about creating sustainable inner change. That sort of inner transformation has effects on our realities in a big way, I think.
Plus, I wanted it to be feminist and inclusive and guided by the reader. I think that all comes from my background running a feminist, magical lifestyle magazine, Luna Luna Magazine, for the past five years. It's like a little corner on the web where people can explore light and dark and the magic inherent in both.
JO: How did you come up with SO many amazing self-care practices [within Light Magic for Dark Times]?
LB: I sat down and made a list of the overarching topics I'd like to cover: love, regeneration, grief, negativity, darkness, identity — and then I started looking at the kinds of rituals I'd done.
I asked people in my community what they needed; what sort of ritual would help them? What are the common problems they field in their lives? What are some areas in which they may need a little inspiration? I asked witches and magic practitioners what sort of book might appeal to them (I created a survey on Google!), and what they thought was done already.
I went from there, and went from the heart. What felt right and real?
It was so beautiful updating my own personal practices or adapting my own rituals and crafting to feel not only very accessible but meaningful.
JO: I've noticed a rise in the "witchy" trend lately; like some of the concepts are becoming mainstream and becoming fashionable. Do you have any thoughts on the recent rise in phenomena once thought of as taboo or occult?
LB: A lot of people have a lot to say about this... I will simply say this: Anything that inspires people, especially women or any marginalized group, to explore ways toward empowerment and autonomy and connectedness to nature and the self is a good thing.
I'm not a snob, I don't believe one needs initiation or permission. I don't believe it being in the mainstream dilutes it simply because it's ultimately SO personal to the practitioner.
The fact that it's a commodity in many ways means we need to tread with caution, but if it ultimately leads someone to something good, how can it be harmful? I also think it's amazing that we are reclaiming power that is natural and intuitive to us as humans... that others were punished, killed, and silenced for. That is a powerful legacy to join. By taking part today, we are honoring those people, usually women.
JO: What has it been like to deal with stigma, closed-mindedness, or haters? Do you have a recommended ritual or technique for dealing with them? (Haha — but really, though!)
LB: I haven't encountered too many haters, yet, but I am sure there are people who think I'm "woo woo" or "weird." I've definitely gotten one or two "You need the Bible/You're a Satanist" comments. I am not a Satanist, but at the same time, I don't need to explain myself to anyone, really. Magic is a practice of intention, intuition, and transformation — and that is beautiful.
As for a ritual, I'd say sitting down and making a list of real, true reasons why [haters] fear magic/hate witches/judge people who practice. Does it make them worried? Does it offend their ideas of order and the universe? Is it because they prescribe to a certain belief system? Or is it because they're actually uneducated or haven't taken the time to research it?
The real reasons will always lead back to the self. Then, take those reasons, accept them, try to update them where possible, find compassion, and burn the list. It's a work-in-progress, but a symbolic one.
JO: Is there anything else you want people to know about your book before reading it themselves?
LB: You don't need to have a single drop of magical experience to enjoy the book. It's inspired by magical practices (candles, meditation, etc.) but it's a book of self-care practices and rituals — things one can do to help handle feelings of insecurity, feelings of sadness, acknowledging one's chronic illness, conjuring one's creativity. It's a book of self-love. You can jump around from chapter to chapter, or focus heavily on one section.
JO: Do you talk about moon cycles, moon phases, etc.? How can newbies to learn about the significance of the moon?
LB: There are so many amazing books I love that have recently come out that I love: Moonology, Lunar Abundance, Inner Witch. I would simply suggest using an app, like "MOON," which helps you track lunar phases. It's great to journal through the moon's phases and practice certain rituals (like releasing rituals during the waning phases) during certain times. It's symbolic, yes, and it can keep you on track and in a natural rhythm. My book has some moon phase magic, for sure, too!
JO: How can we keep up with you?
LB: Please follow me on Instagram, where I post lots about my book, my poetry, travel, and wellness. I'm at @lisamariebasile. Please also check out my magazine, Luna Luna Mag, and you can follow along on LisaMarieBasile.com.
Shop Lisa's Favorites:
THANK YOU, LISA! You are such an inspiration.
(Featured photos via Instagram/@lisamariebasile)
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