Get ready for Leo season with this fiery playlist

This piece originally appears in the August issue of Witch Way Magazine.

Oh, how fun and how lucky we are to create a special Leo themed playlist! It’s your time of the season, fire darlings, and we know you’ve been waiting all year for it. Your dramatic, creative energy made this month’s music extra lively. So, we hope you’re ready for a party.

Leos are ruled by the all-powerful energy of the sun, which equates to a massive stereotype that they tend to perceive themselves as the center of the universe. Seems like a big call at first, and they’re definitely not all massive, center-stage drama queens.

Leo’s have an inherent personal magnetism. There’s a warmth and enthusiasm about them that makes them irresistible to most of the rest of the zodiac. It’s like moths drawn to their fearless flame. They are a spirit that’s inherently drawn to romance and playfulness, Whitney Houston and Amy Winehouse anyone? They get a bad rep for being the arrogant, drama-queens of the zodiac, but their ambition and strength is why we love to keep them around.

Tap into the flamboyantly fierce energy of this Leo themed playlist. Christina Aguilera, Lady Gaga and Charlie XCX pump up the party, while our patron saint of Leo energy Mick Jagger carries us through. And we totally ran with the Leo “lion’s mane“ hair jokes. But hey, Leo energy calls for a little playfulness!

Happy listening and merry magick making my loves!

Leo Season Playlist

Check out some of my other astro-themed playlists here.

Cancer * Taurus

Cozy up with a Cancer Energy Playlist

Our sweet and moody Cancers, welcome to your season young loves! We welcome summer with our solstice in the northern hemisphere just as we ring in this cardinal signs’ birthday season. Please accept this playlist as a humble birthday gift from your Local Mystic.

What else could we have for our water sign besides tons of moody, “get cozy at home” tunes? As natural rulers of the fourth house of “roots,” Cancers love to be a bit of a homebody. While strong-willed and potential extroverts at the party, their true sense of belonging comes from deep within themselves. Their hard, outer shells keep them tenacious and fierce, but also act as a safe space. They can be quick to retreat if it suits their mood, and it can sometimes be tough to pry them out of their preferred hiding spot.

While it’s true they’re natural nurturers and will always be one of the most loyal and empathetic friends you can find, it’s important for these water beings to get their alone time to reset and recharge. They’re resistant and strong, but can also be endearingly sensitive. They’re you’re favorite, badass BFF who you know is a total softie at heart.

With the moon as their ruler, Cancers are patrons of strong maternal energy. It’s a strong, universal energy that we wanted our playlist to embody. Between Kali Uchis, Lana Del Rey, Tash Sultana, Sharon Van Etten and Hannah Reid of London Grammar, there’s a lot of lunar energy to rock with (or slowly roll, rather).

Merry solstice and happy cancer season to all my lovely water witches.
Happy listening, and merry magick making.

Sing to the Sun with a Special Beltane Playlist

We’ve made it, witches of the north! The bright morning of our Beltane sabbat has blossomed after the dawn of our equinox. Hopefully you’re feeling increased vitality and a warmer climate wherever you are.

Danu Forest, author of The Magical Year, describes our rising Beltane energy perfectly:

“During Beltane we can use the fresh energy of the earth’s life force to energize and inspire us, to discover where our passions lie and what makes us feel truly alive at this time.”

Since then it has been turned in to modern festivities like May Day. This cross quarter holiday is a special fire festival. Literally meaning “the goodly fire,” Beltane is a celebration of Bel, on old Celtic god of the sun. While Pagan at heart, traditional May Day festivities are still celebrated around Britain and Europe. It symbolizes the energies within the Earth opening with fertility. The last of the cold has finally fallen away, gardens are blossoming, the birds have returned and life is infused with creative energy. We celebrate the “fire in the sky” as we welcome in the energies of summer and expand the energy of our hearts.

Our Beltane playlist for this month captures the blossoming glee of summer. Indie masters Tame Impala and DIIV create “windows rolled down, driving along the beach” energy. While Odesza, Rüfüs Du Sol, and Duke Dumont get your blood pumping with specialty electronic beats. Close it down with the infectious Beach Boys, because, duh.

Blessed Beltane and peace to all!
Happy listening and merry magick making my loves.

Music of the Bulls: an Ode to Taurus

Taurus season is fast approaching, magickal darlings. Known for their especially practical and grounded energy, the Taurus is a fixed, Earth element. Perhaps we can use this time of year to bring us a different perspective on how we’ve been choosing to go about our daily lives and our goal setting.

The Taurus is usually a dependable, committed friend and a hard worker. They’re patient, reliable, persistent and maybe even a little stubborn. The sign is ruled by Venus, bringing especially loving and beautiful energy to the zodiac. It’s an energy perfectly personified by our Taurus dedicated “Music of the Bulls” playlist.

Every artist featured this month is a born and bred Taurus, which started to become more and more apparent as the sophisticated, jazzy undertones came through. From Ella Fitzgerald and Stevie Wonder to the Arctic Monkeys and The Cure – our Taurus artists have been personifying an intricate sense of beauty throughout the ages.

Through soulful, somber lows and soaring, late 90’s disco-tech highs, let our Taurus artists put you in the mood of the season. Ground down, jam out and feel yourself be swept away by some powerful Taurus jams.

Happy listening and merry magick making my loves!

4 Ways to Celebrate the Spring Equinox in New Orleans Today

The spring equinox is the annual, lunar event where there are equal parts day and night, and it just so happens to be today. Cultural adaptations range from the Easter to pagan’s Ostara, but regardless of its title, it’s a time of heightened energetics.

And if there’s anything we know about New Orleans, it’s that she loves a good reason to celebrate. Here are five ways you can get a little witchy and celebrate the spring equinox today.

Drum Down the Moon with Crescent Craft Nola

Join New Orlean’s most recent spiritual community group in a special full moon circle for this equinox. The equinox also happens to fall on the full moon of March, known in some traditions as the “worm moon.”

The group will lead guests in a simple guided meditation, give some astrological insight into the full moon and the equinox, then hold space for some drumming and energetic work.

The event is donation based, with all proceeds going back to support the community.

Ostara Ritual with the Beehive Coven

Beehive is Metairie’s educational coven that holds public rituals during every Sabbat. A Sabbat is a special Pagan holiday and includes this spring equinox (Ostara).

“Our mission is to help educate the community about Wicca and serve as an outreach group providing resources to the Pagan and non-Pagans in our area.”

  • Beehive Coven

The public Ostara ritual takes place this Saturday the 23rd. Join the group for a 10:00 AM picnic followed by a public ritual at noon, all at Kenner Veteran’s Memorial Park. No pre-registration is required.

Hoop What Ya Mama Gave Ya: A Beginners Workseries at the Drifter

Start your evening off with a little movement meditation from your local flow arts community. Flow instructor and creator of the Glow With the Flow Arts and Performance Festival – Moon Bug – will lead the beginner’s workshop.

Learn some special hoop tricks, grab a drink, browse some local vendors, and stay for the special flow jam afterward. All for $10. All at The Drifter Hotel.

Sprouting Moon  by Enjoy the Productions

Take your equinox celebration into late night with Enjoy the Productions. Music performances include Marcus Lott, Otto, and Napier, all on a fully backlit dance floor. There will also be reiki energy healing, psychic readings, body art, live painting, dance performers and a special toast to the moon at 1 am.

Tickets are $5 at the door. Follow Enjoy the Journey for the address.

Seven Ways to Celebrate the Witches Holiday Imbolc this Week

Imbolc Ritual

In Pagan traditions there are eight special holidays, or Sabbats, that are celebrated throughout the year. While still honored by modern witches and Pagans, the Sabbats are also a great way for non-practitioners to celebrate the season and connect to nature on a deep level.

The next upcoming sabbat falls on February 1st and is called Imbolc. A Gaelic festival celebrating the beginning of spring, Imbolc has since been translated into variations like Groundhogs Day and Candlemas.

In the name of inspiring and uniting witches everywhere (and opening the conversation for those who might be witch-curious) here are seven simple ways to honor our upcoming holy period of Imbolc.

1. Clear and Release

We already know this idea as “spring cleaning.” If you’re feeling the desire to purge and cleanse, that might be some Imbolc energy stirring. The onset of spring calls us to release the stagnant energy of winter and make room for something new. Clear out your closets; sweep and mop your floors; all the little things you keep telling yourself you’ll “get back to,” do them now. This is a cleansing process not only for the home but also the mind. With less clutter taking up your space and attention, the more energy you’ll have to give to upcoming endeavors. If you’re feeling extra witchy, you can top it off with an herbal smudging ceremony. Burn a mix of vervain and sage to give your space a total reset.

2. Set up an Altar

Having an altar is one of the first steps to a witchcraft practice (or any spiritual practice for that matter). Find a space that can go mostly undisturbed, but where you’re likely to see it often. The great part is, the rules basically stop there. You’re creating a space that makes you feel calm, sacred and inspired. Whatever your altar holds is totally up to you. If you’re interested in keeping it traditional, Imbolc is usually associated with the colors of white (for purification) and green (to honor the awakening of nature). Aventurine and Sunstone could make great crystal aids, and basil or angelica can be helpful herbal allies. Bring in some of the earliest spring flowers and anything else that invokes the sense of clarity and renewal for you.

Imbolc Snowdrop
Snowdrops are another great reminder of spring.

3. Start a Garden

Imbolc literally translates to “in the belly,” as the stirrings of spring are rustling deep in the belly of the earth. One of the best ways to connect with nature is to interact with it on a daily basis and start your own garden. If it’s still too cold in your area to begin planting seeds at this time, start some propagation indoors. As you plant the physical seeds, think of all the internal dream seeds you’d like to plant as well. Take the time to nurture them! Chamomile, Sage and Lavender all make wonderful, soothing plants both indoors and out. Plus, they’ll double as herbal medicine when the time comes to harvest. If you don’t have a green thumb, start with a more resilient plant like Aloe Vera or a Snake Plant. Enjoying the presence of nature can be for anybody!

4. Make a traditional Imbolc meal

This time of year places a little more emphasis on domesticity and nurturing the family and the home. For our early ancestors, milk and butter were invaluable resources of nutrition during the long winter. You can make your own butter and bread for a more simple celebration, or try Gather Victoria’s amazing recipe for Lavender and Rosemary Seed Cake or other seasonal recipes.

For Imbolc libations, try this warming Celtic cream whiskey from Danu Forest‘s The Magical Year: 

Imbolc celtic cream

Celtic Cream Recipe

  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp coffee powder, dissolved in a little hot water
  • 1 cup of fresh cream, warmed
  • 1 1/2 cups of condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cups whisky

Combine almond and vanilla extract, dissolved coffee powder and hot cream in a large bowl. Let it cool completely. Add the condensed milk and whisky and blend or stir vigorously. Perhaps say a blessing before drinking and sharing with loved ones.

5. Practice a purity meditation

Spring represents the energy of purity. Through cleansing and renewal, there’s a beautiful innocence to this time of year. For a different spin, we can also practice purity of mind. In the yogic traditions this is called Saucha. It refers to purifying our mind from the clutter of distractions and scatteredness, “so we may gain clarity to meet each moment with integrity and freshness,” (Adele). Take this time to mentally catch up with yourself. Try to sit in meditation for 10 – 15 minutes every day this week, and be purely with each moment as it comes to you. Give yourself this space of purity in your mind and your heart, and see how you feel. For some awesome meditation resources check out Sally Kempton or Tracee Stanley.

6. Do something inspirational for yourself

Put all your fresh intentions and energy to use for yourself. Take the time to do something creative that gets you excited . Imbolc is also a celebration of creation. What can you create in your life to inspire yourself? Maybe you’d like to make a vision board for all your dreams for the upcoming year. Maybe you feel like dancing barefoot until you’re out of breath. Maybe you make yourself a flowered headdress to wear around the house while you clean because why the hell not. Creating raising our energy levels, opens our minds and overall leaves us feeling great.

7. Ritualize

You can perform your imbolc ritual however you’d like. Some witches like to get together outdoors and have a communal ritual, others prefer to practice in solitude. Do whatever feels right for you at this time in your life. Imbolc is associated with the goddess of birth Brigid, so perhaps an honorary ritual asking for her blessings feel right. Fire scrying is another big seasonal magickal tool. Or you can simply meditate on the themes of awakening and clarity and see what comes up for you. If you live in New Orleans we’d love to have you at our Imbolc Celebration.

I’d love for you to reach out to me with any questions or thought you have about the Imbolc Sabbat or the Pagan practices. I hope this has inspired you to honor yourself and the season.

Merry magick making my loves,

Xx Sierra xX

A Witchy Playlist for an Epic Samhain

We celebrate the witches’ New Year on October 31st

Samhain, Halloween, or All Hallow’s Eve – whatever name your tradition calls for – is time to put all to rest. Samhain acts as the end of the calendar year for many ancient cultures. This is the time of year when all the fields had been tended, the herds were drawn inside and everything else was left outside for Mother Earth. It is the role of death in the life and rebirth cycle. It is the crone in the triple goddess entity. It is a time of tying up loose ends and putting all else to rest. We say goodnight to the Sun god and prepare to draw inward until his return at Yuletide festivities.

Old Celtic lore says Samhain is the time when the past, present and future are all one. The veil between the physical and spiritual world is thin. Traditional rituals include honoring the ancestors and preparing their souls for a peaceful rest on the other side. Divination, séances and “dumb suppers” are common practices for this extra magickal evening.

In a more tangible sense, Samhain is a great time for breaking bad habits, journaling on endings and honoring all the life lived and yet to come.

For our Samhain magick making music, we ran with the energy of darkness and endings. Deep, alternative tracks set the tone for the lengthening nights ahead of us. Ethereal ballads from Cocteau Twins, Lykke Li and Mazzy Star calm the spirit, maybe creating a slightly hypnotic effect. And of course the obligatory Stevie.

Happy listening and magick making, my loves.