The Personal Tale

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After a long hiatus, I am finally back! I did not intend to take quite as lengthy of a break from writing as this, but I had to step away for a while to reflect. The last few months were challenging in many ways. And now it feels surreal to be in mid-November of 2020. We have had too much happen this year alone. And yet we are still in the middle of a ruthless pandemic, while continuing to face issues concerning racial equality. There is plenty to be said at a time like this. And I know I promised some resources and links before, so I will provide those in the next blog post as I will dive deeper into a few topics. With that said…what is this post about? I originally planned on writing about altered states in detail. However, this post will be more of a personal nature about doubt. I bring up doubt because in a spiritual sense when we question things, we look for answers in different ways, either through books or people—but having doubt when we thought we had answers reframes our state of mind. The past few months were a struggle about issues of identity—as an immigrant—as an American—as a witch—as a Hindu, and as an Indian American. Suffice it to say that I did not expect to face a spiritual crisis again, but life is not without its tests.

In late September this year, I signed up for a Yoga teacher training program in the interest of immersing myself in the traditions of my culture. For a while, I was confused and felt so removed from everything. I was concerned that I was not being true to my roots. I worried that I was somehow betraying my culture, that I was too “Americanized”, too witchy, not ethnic enough. The reality though is that I did not abandon the foundation—rather I have built on it. However, the fear of disloyalty permeated the center. I tried to turn away yet again from aspects of myself. I thought Yoga was the only way to feel more connected to my culture. While I loved the classes themselves, I was not ready for the teacher training. I was still very much a student. Despite being familiar with Yoga, it was new in a lot of ways. I also realized that I did not want any more “school” or certifications to teach—the training is extensive to be sure. It was clear to me after a few weeks that I also did not want to teach Yoga—I wanted to learn—as a practice for myself and a way of living. What also became evident to me was that I was falling into old patterns, patterns I thought I had broken away from, because I was desperate to understand myself. And the truth is that when I get desperate for change, I react impulsively.

Impulsive behavior, unfinished business, nervous talking, and a lack of confidence are all issues I have grappled with most of my life. They stem from doubts about how a person with a dual cultural identity lives as a balanced individual. When I wrote my first blog post as the Foxy Witch, I thought I had fully overcome the push and pull of this duality. But the seeds of doubt were waiting to be fostered. In the pandemic, they grew until I could no longer fool myself into thinking I had been liberated from those beliefs. I had hoped that Yoga teacher training would straighten me out. But I was looking for a band aid solution to my doubts and fears. Yes, Yoga is beneficial and would enrich my life profoundly. I am certain of that and will continue to practice it on my own for that reason. But as far as signing up for the teacher training, I made that decision on the spot one day without thinking at all about whether it was right for me. I convinced myself in the moment that it was, but the thing is, I have a track record for not being able to follow through with decisions I make that are impulsive. I love spontaneity as much as the next person, but I know myself enough to recognize these patterns. I simply was not ready. And I needed to admit that truth.

Initially, withdrawing from the teacher training program left me with an incredible amount of shame. I was ashamed because I thought I would have learned to be less impulsive by now. I was ashamed because I thought I was abandoning my culture again. I was ashamed that I did not heed the advice of my family who rightly understood where my impulsive tendencies originated. I was ashamed because I felt I had let myself down for the millionth time. Once I processed those feelings, that was when I learned that if I wanted to accept myself, it meant I would have to listen to intuition versus the knee-jerk impulse. My intuition had told me to slow down, because I was not ready for commitments of any kind and to pay attention to the mental and physical signals.

Fast forward to a week or so later after I quit the program, I slowly started to accept the decisions I made and turned inward. I should also mention that the decision to quit the program was one I spent time carefully deliberating as well as consulting with family. So, all in all, I decided to take a long, hard look at who I really was. I saw that I had doubts that ran deep and came from a place where I longed to fit in with something, anything. Today, I accept that I have these flaws. I am still sometimes a nervous talker, (yes, even with my family) because the need for acceptance can be a pervasive desire. But I also know that there are traits of strength and love that I rely on everyday. I had to let go of the old stories that placed me in a state of perpetual doubt. I think I kept myself in a kind of metaphorical limbo so that I would never forget the mistakes I made. In some ways, the irony was that I made more mistakes as a result, because I was just going in circles. These were after all the stories I believed about myself. The impulses, the doubting, the nerves—I had somehow let them dictate the sum, the totality of who I am. As soon as that realization hit me, I began to peel away the layers and dig deep.

I can say now that I accept that I have a duality about me, that I am a person with a distinct cultural background, that I am an American too, and that I tend to straddle the line with fringe paths, the occult mysteries—but I also follow the philosophical teachings of my background, and am definitely a Hindu at the core. I do not have all the answers. I may not ever have all the answers. But I have a stronger, better sense of self. From the depths of the shadows to the light at the end of the tunnel, I am journeying on, seeking truth and knowledge. If you read my personal story post all the way to the end, thank you. If not, I understand! It was a long one as always. The next post deals with different realms. Until then, be safe and have a wonderful rest of the month. With love, the Foxy Witch. Namaste.

Ritual, appropriation, and culture

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I have been thinking a lot about this post because it is a sensitive subject. It is something that has been on my mind for a while now. The topic? Cultural appropriation. Oh yes. Two words that we know permeates the world today. There is of course a difference in respectful adoption and adherence to certain religious rules or cultural guidelines. However, appropriation is still rampant in many aspects. Why is this so? Perhaps it is the amalgamation or culmination of several cultures coming together. To some degree, this is the case in areas that are diversely populated and influenced which then brings us to the question as to how or what appropriation is in the first place. From my perspective, one type of appropriation is the purposeful usage of another culture’s beliefs or customs without due credit and profiting from it, especially if the dominant culture has oppressed the culture from which it takes. This type of appropriation is much easier to identify. The other kind is a little more challenging. It is the normalization of cultural appropriation, sometimes without ill-intent but it is with a lack of understanding or research. In spiritual communities, we try to be conscious of cultural beliefs and practices. It is doubly important though if we are eclectic practitioners. I say this because while I come from a traditional Hindu background and am a hereditary practitioner as well, I would probably still fall under the eclectic umbrella. So in the midst of the summer season, a solar eclipse, a new moon, and five planetary retrogrades (though Venus is going direct soon), there is a lot to talk about with all that is going on in the world as well as in our etheric bodies. Let us tackle the cultural appropriation topic first. I apologize in advance if I have not addressed everything, because there is so much discuss.

Am I guilty of cultural appropriation too? To examine this, I look back at how I began beyond my own heritage. I realize now that part of my journey through witchcraft had to do with me not trusting my instincts and listening to people who were dogmatic about how to conduct ritual, what herbs to use, how to set up my altar, how to meditate, how to connect with the divine—they were dogmatic in every part of my spiritual life. I read books and tried to see if there was truth in what I was learning. I slowly started to look at what I was learning and see whether this was in the spirit of practice or not and if it was culturally insensitive. In terms of appropriation, one thing we do not discuss enough of is the prevalent use of sage bundles. This is extremely important to talk about. Sage is used in some indigenous cultures for sacred, medicinal, as well as other spiritual properties and is often not sold in stores as bundles. A lot of people make use of sage and Palo Santo for sacred smoke and cleansing. But it is something to be mindful of as far as Palo Santo and sage go, to know what cultural implications this has in terms of practice as well as the fact that white sage is endangered, and Palo Santo has not always been ethically sourced. In my own ignorance before, I too used sage and Palo Santo to cleanse. Now, I use my own methods that I take from cultural practices that I grew up with personally. If I do use sage, it is common sage that can be eaten. I like to take them from my garden and make elixirs or use them in cooking. If you are unsure about some practices, I advise educating yourself about it and in keeping a respectful understanding of them, especially if they are closed or initiatory, and hurtful to other cultures if practiced.

Often, many spiritual traditions are cemented in the culture of the country or region it is from—and the transmission of those spiritual practices are passed on through a variety of means including oral, written, migration and exchanges. We know that spiritual traditions can be diverse and unique to individuals in the same area. Many of them may adopt new customs and borrow from belief systems and incorporate them into the existing culture, and this is after all much of what we end up doing. We evolve to some degree in that manner. With that, I want to touch base on Yoga and Reiki practices today. l will begin with Yoga here. As a Hindu, I know that Yoga is both a religious part of our lives as well as a physically enriching practice. Yoga in Sanskrit means union, and the implied meaning is union with the divine. The practices or Asanas are designed to bring us closer to that–to the realization of the Self. Yoga can also improve a person’s overall bodily constitution, help in coping with mental health disorders, and bring a certain elasticity to one’s life in general. Yoga is a Hindu practice, but it can transcend the religious and cultural background. Yoga has universal appeal because of the benefits it offers. As a Hindu, I am not offended by people practicing it. However, I found that many people were surprised by the religious overtones of Yoga or that it could even be considered culturally appropriated by the mainstream. Many Yoga studios have developed since it gained popularity. There is seemingly a type for every kind of Yogic practice including hot yoga, sexy yoga, goat yoga, and even beer yoga, to name a few, and some of these take away from the intended benefits that Yoga offers. It then ends up seen as more of a wellness trend than a spiritual practice with its roots steeped in Hinduism. While Yoga may feel like a personal practice, it is largely devotional too. Many of us who are Hindu and practice Yoga consider it sacred and believe it cannot be altered in that respect. We also know that it like anything else changes with us and with time. With that in mind, I hope anyone who practices Yoga understands the cultural and religious aspects and approaches it as such, a sacred and transformative practice.

Reiki is another popular practice in our community. Reiki is universally appealing, like Yoga, but again, we need to remember where it originated from—the practices, the spiritual nature of Reiki, and the terminology associated with it. Reiki comes from Japan, originating with Dr. Usui. Reiki is comprised of two Japanese words: Rei, meaning Higher Power, and Ki meaning life force. ( Reiki has also evolved through many teachers and lineages, Western and Eastern; however, the core foundation needs to reflect the same principle behind Reiki. Most of us learn through the Hayashi manual or the Usui techniques, after which the way in which we administer Reiki treatments or practice self-Reiki may change. Reiki is malleable in that sense, like Yoga. They are both transmutable—that is, the practitioner adapts the practice to suit their lifestyle. Making sure to understand the history behind Reiki, the original foundations, and respecting that tradition helps us become better Reiki practitioners. Reiki does not have a dogmatic principle nor a specific religious connotation. We still need to be mindful of our cultural education. While I do have my Reiki I and II, I try my best to approach this with the cultural understanding and honor that in my practice. I will write more about Reiki as well as Yoga in a future post.

There are many more things to pore over with regards to cultural appropriation. A lot of practices within witchcraft have multiple origins. Many cultures and lifestyles have different points of origin or several adoptive practices. As we grow and evolve, our respect and understandings should go beyond and serve as a reminder to be cognizant, reverential, and grateful. In today’s current world affairs, racism and bigotry rear their ugly heads in the form of colorism, classism, sexism, discrimination based on family backgrounds, sexual orientation, and much more. It is important to educate ourselves on these issues and to know where some of our accepted practices in New Age circles or witch communities may hinder or hurt indigenous and other cultures. I hope this post does not deter you from practicing your way, because that is not my intention. I just wanted to highlight some things we sometimes come across in our practices. With that, let us be mindful, compassionate, and thoughtful in our understanding of this beautiful world we inhabit. Our world seems apocalyptic at times, and we may lose our faith too, but let us never give up hoping and striving for better because we are capable of it. I believe in us.

Namaste beloved readers. I leave you with two links that I believe are worthwhile and encapsulate what cultural appropriation looks like in the spiritual sense. With love, the Foxy Witch.

Retrogrades and Time

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Retrogrades, Chaos, Eclipses, Gemini Season. What a whirlwind. The lunar eclipse was intense and telling. And we have a grand total of four planets in retrograde and will have to gear up for more! The big question is: should we be worried? I can certainly understand why it seems overwhelming and how planetary movements can get us flustered a bit. Sometimes, retrogrades are like those pesky reversed Tarot card meanings that we don’t often like. But let’s think about this. What do retrogrades symbolize ultimately? In this blog post, I attempt to dissect the astronomical and spiritual effects of planetary retrogrades on us collectively. Of course, each person will experience things differently, by sign, personality type, numerology, birthplace, cultural conditioning, and many other factors. This is in no way a substitute for astrological consultation, Western or Vedic. These are musings from my viewpoint on what we can do when there are changes in planetary movement. We also cannot ignore what is happening now because it feels apocalyptic in nature. Besides the pandemic we face, we have several crises on our hands. We continue to fight against racism and inequality, against violence. It hurts us on a soul level because we are all connected, and we cannot turn a blind eye to inhumane behavior and racism. We will discuss this more in later blogs, but the next one will deal with cultural appropriation vs adoption.

First things first, we are in a seasonal change. I really like when this happens because it is the intermediary between spring and summer, a transitionary period. It could not be more important than ever to focus our strengths on reflection and rebuilding right now. It feels a bit like a twisted limbo. Truthfully speaking, that is not far from the reality. This is precisely why there is so much change and transmutation of many things—things we expected would proceed in an orderly fashion. But the very fabric of our world is unraveling. In terms of the changing season, this period brings a lot of funky vibrations to the forefront. If you feel off-kilter or polarized in some areas, getting in touch with the elements may help you shift your balance. If you haven’t felt it yet, perhaps you are experiencing other effects in your life, and that is perfectly okay. The thing to remember is that we are rebuilding in this transitionary phase. We are reflecting on current planetary retrogrades and the changes they effect on our lives. But they tell us that we can hit restore and begin again. Because like the phoenix, we will also rise.

When we think of the planets in retrograde now, we may think it makes sense why things are so chaotic today. Here are the planets in question: Pluto, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn. These four planets are crucial elements in our cosmic makeup. Strictly speaking from a scientific point of view, Jupiter and Saturn, the gas giants of our solar system, play a part in keeping asteroids away from us because of their gravities affecting one another (though there’s a caveat with that but that’s for a different discussion). And Venus, often called our sister planet, shows us how similar she was once to Earth—some even believe that Venus once held life. Today, Venus has an atmosphere 75 times that of Earth with temperatures exceeding 800-900 degrees Fahrenheit! Then we have Pluto, a small and cold planet, a mystery unto itself, so far away from our sun. It was demoted as a planet and then reinstated as one of the five dwarf planets. So, why do planets and their motions affect us? Scientifically speaking, planets, objects and celestial bodies all exert a certain amount of force. The gravity of planets affects objects near and around them. It has an astronomical effect on everything, like a cosmic chain. Going further, spiritually we ascribe them to an immutable force, celestial and cosmic deities if you will.

So let’s talk retrogrades! Pluto is the planet I want to address first. Pluto’s retrograde is a shadow reflection period. There may be old wounds resurfacing that need tending to with a loving heart. This was especially notable for me. I saw how much my own past reappeared in my dreams as fears of loss and feelings of shame and guilt. I thought I’d put to rest some issues only to discover that I was still holding on to them. It made me take a hard look at myself and be objective. I think of the shadow work I did in the spring. It’s an ongoing process, and that was my takeaway from Pluto’s Rx. Perhaps, it will serve as a reminder to be gentle with yourself too which segues right into Venus Rx. The theme here is self-care and self-love are absolutes right now. I do not say this lightly. It is so much easier said than done. Venus Rx reminds us to look within to find the light of love in our hearts—to find the wounds that need the loving energy of our full being, to heal those broken pieces (like Pluto). Venus Rx reveals many of the effects of disharmony in our love and filial relationships. The key is to embrace the disharmony and transmute it. Again, easier said than done. I am no expert or psychologist—but if you want to use Venus Rx as a reflective period to bring harmony back into your life, find ways to self-soothe and comfort yourself as you would a loved one. Give yourself 100% love and pampering.

Jupiter and Saturn in retrograde tell us a lot about growth and learning and time. Chaos can be transmuted too. Our new normal is fraught with chaos, fear, injustice, and pain—disease and loss. Saturn is the ruler of time—and right now, it feels like time is both slow and swift. It feels out of control. But Saturn Rx reminds us that we do have time. We have time to go beyond—to really focus on our goals. Believe it or not, we can manifest even now—time is relative. Seeds may take longer to grow, but they will grow. Saturn Rx can be chaotic—we have no concept of something outside of time—but we have time. Time is not getting away from us. Now on to Jupiter! Jupiter in Vedic Astrology is referred to as Guru. I like to think of Jupiter as the teacher, the strength-maker, and the ruler of knowledge. These are just my views—you may have a different perspective, and that is valid too. Think of lessons you have learned or are learning during this time or lessons you want to teach, especially if you are a teacher. What keeps popping up for you? Moreover, Jupiter Rx may call on you to seek new knowledge or to expand your knowledge on something you already know.

Thank you for making it this far! Again, this post is my impression of the planetary retrogrades. I’ve spoken from a really personal standpoint. I am not an astrologer or psychologist. Please consult the appropriate parties for proper counsel if you need. However, what I offer here is just a perspective which you may find resonates with you or gives you a different way of looking at something. May the retrogrades bless you and may the tides turn in your favor, beloved reader. Namaste. With love, the Foxy Witch.

An Empath and a Vampire walk into a Bar…

Gaze up on the flowers and be at peace.

Empath. It seems to be a loaded word in the spiritual community. Why is it such a loaded word, I wonder? “Put yourself in their shoes. How would you feel?” This is something we often hear growing up. It was how we would deal with bullies to try and get them to understand why what they were doing was wrong. The rule remains the same today for adults. But can we truly feel empathy for another person? Most of us understand sympathy. Most of us know how to say sorry—to feel bad for another person. But can we truly say that we feel the same things as another person? And how many of us can extend that towards most people and not just limit it to the ones we know and care for? Do we only feel empathy when it relates to our own situation? This is a hard subject to address. Someone is not automatically greater than others if that person is an empath. Unfortunately, I have encountered this type of ego—the ego where they are considered better people because they have more sensitivity or think that they do. So, how do we discern true empaths from some who may use it as an excuse to justify certain behavior that discriminates against others? Let us first examine the traits of empaths and then look at what is associated with empaths including a popular subject that pops up where empaths are concerned: energy vampirism.

So, what is an empath? The quick and easy definition is that an empath is someone who feels another person’s emotions. Going beyond that though, empaths tend not to just feel them. They sense emotions and then take them on. Growing up, I used to wonder why I felt so many confusing things all the time. What I didn’t realize then was that most of us have our own problems that sometimes it is challenging to distinguish it from other people’s. In our new normal, we may be feeling collective traumas of the world. We are inundated with constant waves of energy from all angles. What’s an empath to do in a state of unrest, uncertainty, and panic? Remember my earlier posts about down time and self-healing? Let’s add on! The most crucial is the filter. I cannot stress the importance of having a filter enough! The filter as I see it is where we empty out the daily clutter. Also make sure to take stock of what you are feeling. How I filter is by writing and drawing. I transfer collective feelings into writing and then draw my own emotions out in original works or fan art. I also do Reiki and meditation daily. Meditation can be harder so sometimes I will do an active workout like running, martial arts, dancing, and then yoga.  I recommend one physical activity and one reflective and doing it routinely, same time of the day or night, every day. It made a huge difference for me. Again, this is not in place of medical treatments if you have conditions or are being treated. Please always consult your therapist or doctor first before doing anything physical or exploratory!

Some other traits or perceived traits of empaths include being sensitive to strong emotions, anxiety, panic attacks, and loneliness. Often, the typical expectation is for an empath to get overwhelmed or cry easily or fall apart. This does vary though. Some of the most empathic individuals I know are calm, compassionate people who remain firm under pressure. And there are others who are more sensitive and express it more readily. To be honest, expressing my true feelings or showing emotion is not something that I am comfortable doing—I tend to be stoic. But every empath is different. One is not better than the other. But what we have in common is the ability to understand the complexity of emotions we feel from others and the ability to extend compassion towards them. That is the one of the hallmarks of being an empath. This brings me to another point. What is an energy vampire? And why does pretty much everyone get accused of being one?

An energy vampire (I personally do not like the use of this term) is a person who drains another person’s energy. However, one of the big things I try to keep in mind is my etheric state around people. They may not be aware that they are seeking or taking your energy. Another thing to remember is that your energy cannot be easily taken away unless the person’s ill intent goes beyond your consent. For example, if you filter friends’ emotions out without taking it on and show compassion for yourself and use your self-care techniques, you will find that your energy is not being drained. Reiki healers, therapists, doctors, and naturopaths do this. Most of us know how to “tune” out what we do not like. If someone drains your energy even after all of this—or you know them to be malicious, it’s one thing, because an energy vampire is typically deliberate. They will leech from you, knowingly—break through your barriers of protection. These are master manipulators who sometimes masquerade as empaths. I have experience with this—and know many other empaths who have gone through this as well. I try to be careful when using the term energy vampire. I realize that some people need more affection and kindness than the average person. Remember to use the filter and be compassionate to yourself first and extend it to others. If you are however in contact with the individual who is actively taking your energy—there are ways you can protect yourself.  

Warding and altered states are things I use for protection, but I’ll talk about those in another post. Here are some tips on protection from negative energy: I like to make elixirs with chamomile leaves. I sometimes use fresh sage from my garden, mint, lavender, and chamomile and boil them in water and drain the mixture. I add other ingredients in here based on personal preference and taste. I would drink this whenever needed. Another option is to drink chamomile peppermint tea—do this after you encounter that energy or after you do any type of healing. Mugwort is a great herb to burn for protection—use dragon’s blood incense in conjunction for more potency. Please be sure that herbs used are ethically sourced. Another tip, wash your hands with salt water after doing any work with negative energy or removal. My daily ritual is a saltwater wash. It’s simple, easy enough, and can be found in most households and at grocery stores. If I could recommend what herb I find most useful, it would be mugwort, because it has multiple uses (which I’ll also address in another post). If you don’t have access to herbs, salt water is excellent. Listening to soothing music also helps me. Remember to drink lots of water. Never skip on hydration and if you can, opt for hot water and lemon first thing in the morning for rejuvenation. Thank you for reading this lengthy post! With love, the Foxy Witch. Namaste. 

Cosmic Fuel and Spiritual Nourishment

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In our world today, many of us are turning to spirituality in our hour of need. For the first time in a long time, we are forced to be alone with our thoughts. Yes we may busy ourselves with tasks, working from home, cooking, working out, etc. However, the fact remains that as a result of the quarantine, we are having to spend more time listening to the thoughts that our 24/7 busy minds used to push down. We may feel restless, anxious, depressed, and alone. For those of us in serious isolation, this can be terrifying. As an introvert and homebody, I have no issue being at home, but I do mind confinement. The lack of freedom wears me down sometimes. This is where my spiritual practice comes into play. We often seek spirituality to comfort and guide us during times of difficulty. But it poses this question too: Can we also stay spirituality intact when times are good? Our topic today is about keeping ourselves spiritually nourished and cosmically centered.

What does it mean to be spiritually nourished? First, let’s start by breaking down what “spiritual” means. Here is a basic paraphrase of the dictionary definition: Relating to the spirit, sacred matters, and the supernatural. ( Merriam Webster also gives us synonyms to associate the word with such as incorporeal, ethereal, without a tangible form, and so on. When we see the word spiritual, perhaps we refer to a religious connotation. Whatever it may be, whenever we think of being whole or living a holistic life, we tend to include the spiritual aspect. We are constantly told to keep our bodies nutritionally replete and our mental health sound. But spiritually, we need nourishment too. Spiritual nutrients are like highly individualized energetic fuel for the subtle body or the ethereal. I like to think of it as a cosmic food source, complete with divinity and stardust. So, how do we spiritually nourish ourselves?

One of the key components for any witch, psychic, empath, Reiki practitioner, or anyone who works with energy or magick is in ensuring that their energy levels are up because depletion is common for us. To be honest, it is common regardless of spiritual classifications; even an atheist can fall victim to the elusive dangers of energetic drains. In order to avoid this issue, spiritual fuel is necessary. So, what does that look like? As mentioned earlier, it is so individualized that I can only offer my perspective on it. Ask yourself, what fills your soul with clean energy? What makes you feel rejuvenated? For some of us, ecstatic dancing and yoga help us feel closer to the divine. For others, it’s quiet reflection or meditation on their deity or deities. Writing and drawing, listening to music, and deep breathing are also options. How I feel spiritually fulfilled is in using those methods as well as taking care of my physical body through proper eating, exercise, and getting adequate sleep. I also do morning and nightly devotionals to my deities and rituals during specific times of the year. I dedicate all of my work, mundane and spiritual, to the Divine and the Collective (No, not the Borg, phew! I know my fellow Trekkies are reading this 😊) I also focus my energy inward to listen to my intuition. As an empath, this is the most important factor. Gut instincts can save lives. I repeat. Gut instincts can save lives! Be in tune with your feelings. Counselor Troi would agree 😉

I set a ritual practice daily—habits tend to help me stay focused and cosmically centered. From my daily devotionals to meaningful reading, I try to keep my habits routine and timely. Firstly, I’m obsessed with deep space and stardust so I’m constantly finding a way to go to a state of cosmic consciousness. To stay centered, I listen to healing frequencies, space ambient music, then dim the lights and concentrate my energy on a focal point. Sometimes, I will chant Om or pray to a god or goddess and begin my Reiki practice of self-healing. When I do this, I feel warm and occasionally fiery energy funnel through me and extend outward. Given this current climate, I focus that energy externally. This can lead me into altered states sometimes, so I will anchor myself physically first. One can do this a number of ways. I personally use an obsidian or hematite stone in my non-dominant hand to keep my awareness in the present or make sure that a strong incense or scent is in my space because that also keeps me tethered.

After doing any kind of energy work, I will eat something and drink my own concoction of healing tea to replenish what I’ve expended. What I found useful to regain my strength is in eating something earthy and grounding like nuts, seeds, potatoes, squash, or a protein-rich snack. My body actually gets overheated during this process so grounding foods cool me down. Also, warm teas and hot water aid in soothing the body. These are from personal practices steeped in both Ayurvedic techniques I’ve learned growing up as well as in my own creations through experimentation. As I’ve said before, energy work, spiritual fuel, and foods are highly individualized. Use your best judgment in that regard. You’ll learn by experimenting what works and doesn’t. But having a daily practice helps you stay focused, healthy, and spiritually nourished.

Thank you for reading! The next topic will be about empaths, energy vampirism, and how even empaths get accused of vampirism. Stay tuned! Blessings to you all. Namaste. With love, the Foxy Witch.

Love in the time of Corona

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Love. Ah yes, love. It’s been on my mind lately. I believe it’s the one thing that reigns supreme in the universe. That four-letter word is both the most wonderful emotion as well as the most painful. The poets and bards of old would serenade us with ballads and sonnets about everything from wooing someone to the heartbreak of unrequited love. Romantic love is a pursuit that many of us undertake at some point. It is a tale as old as time, and yet it is a tale that will remain eternal too. Of course, we want everlasting love. And in order to find that love, we once used to frequently consult astrologers and matchmakers. Some even brewed concoctions and love potions to attract a lover or keep a lover faithful. Today, we seek it online or go to speed dating events, meet-ups, etc. While people still consult their astrologers, use love potions or more specifically, love magick today, the way we do things has changed. So as promised, the surprise topic for this blog post is on love with a brief segue into love magick, and more importantly, how we can keep love alive during crises.

When I was thinking about what to write on last week—I hit a wall. I wasn’t sure what to cover given the anxieties and fears that plague us all at the moment. But then I saw a meme on social media that suggested that we revert to Victorian modes of courtship, Jane Austen style. It struck me as poignant and funny simultaneously. What an idea! How does one cope with the dating scene when we are confined to our homes and advised to physically distance ourselves from others? And how we can use love magick to bring love into our lives or make our current love lives better? I gave it a lot of thought. The timing of love does not always feel convenient but is often unexpected. When we engage in attracting love into our lives, we are sending a specific wish out into the universe. We can call it manifesting, good vibes, frequencies, or anything similar. What we are doing ultimately is transmitting a message on an energetic level. If we transform our thoughts to those of loving compassion and universal love, we will find that we spread that energy around full circle.

Loving energy is challenging because the self-love aspect needs to be front and center—it is easier said than done, but self-love is knowing your worth and being able to treat yourself the way you would to someone you love. And this in turn increases your capacity to love others—because they end up becoming reflections of yourself. Love magick resonates at this frequency. We can attract what we are far better than what we think we want. In order to manifest our desires, it is useful to become what it is we seek. That being said, circumstances beyond our control can occur in spite of positive reinforcement and manifestation. Moreover, if you are struggling with depression or other mental health issues, please note that magick and witchcraft is not a substitute for therapy or medications. In situations such as the current crisis we face, it may feel like we’ve put the pause button on love. However, we can find creative ways to express love for ourselves and for others.

If you are single and looking for ways to attract love into your life, despair not! Practice more love for yourself right now. The more you love yourself, the better this process will be. For starters, begin your morning with a mantra and meditate on it for at least five minutes. You can use this or make up one of your own: I am deserving of the best love in my life. Believe in this! Why? Because you are deserving of the best love in your life. Words have power and meaning so believe in them. The second thing to do is to write a love letter to yourself. Yes, really. As you write this letter, (and it can be simple) I want you to visualize exactly the type of love you want to receive. Your energy, intent, and passion matter. Keep a list of what you want in a person and visit that list often. Avoid making lists of who or what you don’t want. You already know what you don’t want anyway, right?! Third, any kind of attraction spells and love magick can be done over the new moon or for renewed passion, the full moon. But give yourself the love you deserve first. I make no guarantees in what works or doesn’t work—it is individual, karmic, cosmic, and dependent on what energy resonates where—however, what I do know is that self-love benefits all of us. And when we all have self-love and compassion, it’s a win for the collective.

If you are not single, you are probably closeted with your significant other or perhaps far away and having to use FaceTime or Whats App. Despair not, lovers! Keeping love alive is so critical right now. There’s no reason to halt romance—try a little poetry (I mean it worked for some of those bards) or cooking together, and better yet, watching movies together—Zoom and FaceTime are great for this if you are separated by distance. For those who live together, this is an excellent time to go on staycation dates. Use spices in your cooking and make use of chocolate for dessert if you can. For increased passion, dim the lights early—use red candles anointed with almond oil and rose petals and take a spiritual bath. Listen to loving melodies and give yourself extra love and then transfer it to your partner. It can be energetic as well as physical. If you are away from your partner, extra self-love is even more necessary. If you do not have access to red candles, spices, chocolate, oils, or rose petals, that’s okay! Just use what you do have. Let your creativity flow. Your intent and your love are what matters most. So be your best lover. And if you are not looking for romance, filial love and friendship are also beautiful ways to bond while social distancing. Thankfully technology does let us see each other in a manner of speaking!

That’s it for now. I’ll be posting more on love magick and its ethics as well as a further, detailed look into my personal trance work. Thank you for reading. Blessings. Namaste. With love, the Foxy Witch.

Trance, trance baby

Trance. Astral travel. Altered states. These are a few words we associate with mystics, mediums, seers, and shamans. Witches around the world recognize these terms. One can be a mystic and a witch, a medium and a witch, and so on. Trance is defined as: a sleeplike state (as of deep hypnosis) usually characterized by partly suspended animation with diminished or absent sensory and motor activity. (Merriam Webster). When people go into trance states, they are entering a different level of consciousness while still maintaining an anchor to the waking and physical world. In my previous blog, I mentioned trance as part of the shadow work I did. I’ll elucidate here exactly what that entailed for me, and then I’ll discuss the difference between meditative journeying and trance. And we will end on romancing our demons (sounds weird, I know).

The first time I entered a trance state was purely accidental. I literally walked up to a total stranger and delivered a message. I’m not sure why it happened that way. Whatever it was, I knew that the message was specifically intended for that individual. This is where trance can get quite interesting. Being in another realm of consciousness means that sometimes there is interaction with others—I use the term others to refer to spirits, to entities, or anything on an energetic level. A person can channel during trance and acts as an intermediary. This is true for mediums as well. In my case, when I started, trance had been totally accidental. Of course, after that, I tried to get there by meditating. But here’s the thing—I was terrified and shied away whenever I got close to doing it. I was also carrying a lot of guilt, anger, and shame over many things. These emotions kept me from being able to do it safely. In order to induce a trance state, I needed to acknowledge those emotions and proceed without any judgment. I had to still the mind and be willing to face my fears, because it can be a scary process.

The work I’d done on myself over the years was a fight to death. I don’t say that lightly. I explored every single weakness, every emotion, every lie I sold myself on, and my fake persona outside—not one area ignored—that was where the transformation began to take root. I was honest in the process. I saw facets of my soul that frightened me to the core—and some that embarrassed me so much that I longed to erase it from memory not only for myself but also for anyone else involved. It was hard. And doing shadow work this spring involved me visiting these places again to remove some of the wounds I thought had healed. In some of these trances, I saw myself as a child, viewed things through the lens of an objective observer, and in others I visited my nightmares. I tried to run away but every time I did, I’d be right back to the heart of the nightmare. So, I faced them—and still have to face them because my work isn’t done yet. Shadow work in some ways can be constant but you don’t have to use trance all the time. It definitely forced me to be more realistic and honest with myself. If you feel comfortable using trance though, you might be surprised by the answers and messages you receive. It is a useful tool, but one to be used carefully and with sufficient preparation. I’ll be doing a separate blog post on the process of trance alone in the next few weeks! In the meantime, let’s talk about the difference between meditative journeying and trance. Meditation can lead to trance—don’t get me wrong—but the big difference between the two is the threshold, because meditative journeying does not often require the preparation that trance does. Trance needs careful calibration and those who tend to work in liminal spaces are more likely to gravitate towards it. Meditation on the other hand can be practiced by almost anyone. Mindfulness in particular can be very helpful in these difficult times.  

And now we come to the last part: romancing your demons! The shadow work I dealt with led me to places in my life that I had never gone back to since they happened. Revisiting those parts allowed me to make friends with and woo my inner demons—I remembered who I was during rough patches of my life, while knowing who I am now. I thanked each and every challenger with the same amount of gratitude I would show to family and friends. I gave love to the wounded past and to the old me that lived with self-loathing. I saw these inner demons in spiritual terms, and not as negative entities because these were what I had invited in of my own accord. By “romancing” them, I romanced myself! I gave myself the love I wished I’d had then. Without those demons, I would have continued to live in fear of my own shadow. I was afraid of everything from failure, love, friendship, success to liminal and spiritual things. But my inner demons pushed me to the edge of my comfort zone so that I could rebuild from the ground up. On a mystical note and a disclaimer here, if people are struggling against negative energy and unwelcome attention from entities, that’s an entirely different matter. Romancing unwelcome and uninvited energy is not something I recommend doing. And I’ll be talking about that in detail in another blog post as well.

So, once again dear reader, you have made it to the end! Thank you for reading my blog. I’m not sure what my next post will be so let’s call it a surprise instead. With love, the Foxy Witch. Namaste.

A Shadow Spring

Photo by Elly Fairytale on

Happy Saturday evening folks! I thought I’d check in with everyone first before commencing the blogpost. How’s everybody feeling? Are we all finding ways to unwind from the news and the panic that some of us are experiencing? In this global climate with a looming crisis on our hands, it can be challenging to decompress. But it has never been more needed than now. So, let’s talk about this for a minute. What does self-care look like to you? Do you read to relax? Binge watch something on Netflix? Get in fuzzy slippers, sip some cocoa or tea, and curl up with a fur baby? Whatever it may look like, I highly urge everyone to take that one hour or more for “just me” time. In spite of being under mandated quarantine, a lot of us are simply not at rest. We are on high alert and our radars are constantly pinging. A slight sniffle or a sneeze can cause even a reasonably composed individual to concoct the worse case scenario. It does not help when the news items on television, social media, and general chatter revolve around the big bad of our time: the Coronavirus or Covid-19. A lot of us know friends and family who have had exposure or others who have the virus. It is distressing to watch these events unfold around us. However, there are many things we can do to minimize risk and boost immunity. We can sanitize, wash our hands frequently, take vitamin C, drink herbal teas, and stay home. Practicing good hygiene and boosting immunity are things we should already be doing, but now we need to be extra diligent.

Beyond cleanliness and preventative measures though, we need to do this on a spiritual level too. One of the things I’ve been doing is holding space and sending Reiki outwards to anyone who may need it. The second thing is taking a break from news and certain types of social media. The third is listening to soothing melodies and guided meditations, which I’ll talk about more later. I also take time out for a spiritual bath whenever needed. These have really helped me when I’ve had those moments of sheer panic. The anxiety is truly debilitating. Some days I would run on adrenaline alone, and it wouldn’t be until the end of the day that I would be aware of how much energy I had expended. And of course, by then I’d be absolutely exhausted, too tired for soul soothing. Those days added fuel to the angst fire.  I had to reset, burn some herbs in my cauldron and go within, which leads me to my next point: shadow work in the spring.

Long ago, I used to think that shadow work was only for the winter. But I quickly learned some years back that shadow work waits for no season, and honestly? Shadow work can be constant–awareness is key here. It’s heavy and intense no matter what time of the year we do it. While the shadow does refer to working with the “darker” aspect of us, I like to think of it as introspection with a twist. In order to be a holistic person, we look to find a way to balance the shadow with the visible part of ourselves. It seems seasonally appropriate for such an undertaking to take place during winter—that way we can make room for new beginnings and renewal. But that does not mean that we can ignore shadow work if it’s needed during that time. However, the way we go about it can be positive. This time I have taken spring cleaning to mean a spring spiritual cleansing. I realized I had written all these stories about who I thought I was—and reinforced it over and over. I suppressed a lot over the years but in the end, those parts could no longer be confined to the shadows. I faced some of the fears I had long buried as well. These are things I’m mentioning at the surface level. Going deeper, I can say that I have experienced trance work and meditative journeying that really pushed me out of my comfort zone. I’ll elaborate more in the next post. I want to end on a positive note with a recipe for healing!

  • One recipe I like to use is this:
  • Take a hot bath with salt, adding almond and eucalyptus oils. If you don’t have a bathtub, use a salt scrub in the shower. You can use the oils sparingly or just lightly dab eucalyptus oil behind the ears.
  • Using singing bowls or listen to soothing melodies that relax you. Sometimes, I listen to Hindu mantras and chanting.
  • Afterwards, you can continue listening if you want or play ambient music, burn some incense (I recommend sandalwood for healing) and sip some ginger or chamomile tea. If you have allergies to both or don’t like ginger, drink something soothing you do like.
  • Use lavender oil behind your ears or on your temples, and do deep breathing–breathe in for a count of four, hold it for two, and then release for four. Repeat at least five times times. This recipe is useful before bedtime but can also be used during stressful moments.

Thank you for reading this rather verbose post! In the next one, I will talk about trance, meditative journeying, and romancing your demons! Yes, really. Namaste.

Written words, spoken spells

As promised, this blog post is about my upcoming projects. So here it goes. I began writing an introduction on Kali a few years back for pagan audiences. A lot of people in the witch community asked me about worshiping Kali and whether or not it was culturally appropriate. I took the opportunity to answer questions in a book format, covering Kali as a Hindu goddess, how she is worshiped in India, and symbolism in Hinduism. However as time went on, I felt I was doing the book a great disservice. It was littered with academic jargon, the research everywhere, and it felt dry and dense. I struggled writing it because translating certain things culturally posed a challenge as well. I knew what I understood intrinsically from the Hindu standpoint because I was born and raised as such and to not write it from that standpoint felt like sacrilege. I followed my own path which led me down many roads in witchcraft, but at my core remained Hindu. The confusion and identity crisis made it seem easier to merely write an academic discourse/textbook style version of the book. I didn’t need to personalize it. Yet…that was what the book needed.

So, I began anew. The book is still in the writing stages, but I am making headway. I detail my relationship to the divine feminine, the difficulties I faced then and now, plus growing up Hindu–as well as my journey to a path forged in magick. This book also talks about Devi in all her forms–including Kali. I discuss my own personal views on deities and the Source or All-Pervading-Reality (the all powerful capital S makes its appearance gaspah) and what I am continuing to learn. So when can we expect this book? Well, whenever it gets published. First, I need to finish it. Tall order, I know. My deadline? Another tall order….by this summer at the LATEST. Why did I give myself that deadline? I already have 1/2 of the book completed from before. While we are all under self and government imposed quarantines, what better time than now to finish projects that have been pushed to the wayside? This is the time to really focus–to go inward and ask your soul what it truly needs–check to see how connected you feel to the Source–and to nature and magick. What does my soul need? The answer is clear: to express myself in written words, spoken spells, and art.

The apothecary is another special project of mine. I have been working with alternative modalities of healing and energy to help cope with stress and chronic ailments for some time now. Before I go further though, major disclaimer here, I do NOT recommend abandoning medical treatments! On the contrary, I believe that holistic health can be used in conjunction with Western medicine. Again, I highly recommend that people always check with their physicians and pharmacists for any medical and herb/drug interactions before beginning any holistic therapy. That being said, the reason I am working on an apothecary project is because I’m extremely passionate about helping people feel better. I have seen way too much suffering. I’ve seen it in my loved ones, and in friends, and in the world in general. So what can I do? Thus far, I love making oil blends, sound baths, and using Reiki daily. I also want to focus on multiple disciplines within holistic healing modes–my main focus at the moment is in mental well-being (though sports injuries and chronic pain are also areas I’m working with). Having suffered from severe stress, I can attest to Reiki, Ayurveda, and holistic therapies having helped me in addition to Western medicine. When do I plan to launch this apothecary? At the moment, I don’t have a time frame yet. The book is the first project, and I am studying more with this one. I will regularly update though.

If you have made it this far, thank you! My next post will be on facing rising global challenges, shadow work in the spring, and a recipe for self-healing. Namaste.

The Lotus Reopened

Finally waking up and getting out of that broom closet once and for all!

“This above all; to your own self be true.” —William Shakespeare


It’s been a long road for me to say the word witch comfortably without wincing. Why? The connotation of the word witch has long suffered a curiously difficult journey. For me personally, I was well oriented with the negative connotations of that word. First, let me define the actual word and its origins. Merriam Webster gives us this standard explanation: a witch is someone who possesses supernatural powers, generally speaking, used for evil, and of course, female. However, to call someone bewitching has a more positive effect. Spell binding is another word with positive implications. Yet the word witch is associated with malevolence and fear. In researching Old English, simply put, a witch is someone who practices magic.

There are many indigenous cultures around the world where animism, shamanic practices, and rituals are commonplace. I’m familiar with this within my own background. In our modern day over the years, we have seen a rise in spirituality steeped in witchcraft. I myself took the first step at the age of eleven. Actually, let’s rewind. I knew I wanted to claim the title of the witch long before that–I felt it on a cellular level. I remember as a child that I could wander off somewhere and know exactly where I was going without ever feeling lost. I felt connected to those women who made concoctions, poultices, to those women who used mantras and fire rituals, and I knew I was one of them immediately.

I lived in India and America on and off for the first ten years of my life and was raised Hindu. There is certainly a lot of ritual within Hinduism. To me, it is a magical religion. But the term witch we grew up with was fraught with images of those who use their craft to harm others. The fear of the witch was real. Naturally, I didn’t use that term for myself. I just assumed that I was different, a freak of some kind. I didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere. When I moved to the US, the problem was further exacerbated by bullying. Ah, but then–I found a book at a local bookstore called Charms, Spells, and Formulas. It got my attention right away. The effect of that moment was instantaneous. It was as if it validated everything I was feeling. However, I still feared the word–and so I waited until I was a teenager to truly explore that side of myself.

I struggled with an identity crisis for a long time even after my initial awakening. I felt I was somehow betraying my culture because I was drawn to witchcraft. So I chose a culture outside but shunned my own in the process. The struggle only got worse when I encountered some trouble in a witch circle I was involved with; I really lost myself for a while and succumbed to the negativity around me. As a result, I began to fear the witch even more. I even shunned the witch part of me in favor of my own culture. But denying any part of myself meant I continued to keep one foot in the broom closet and the other one out. I know now that the fear lies in the potential stigmatization from friends and the community. However, as I learn more about my own religion, about the mystical sects within it, and from my own experiences in witchcraft, I have come to realize that practicing magick does not interfere with my ethnic or religious background. I slowly started to open up again like a lotus, bit by bit. I am finally free to put both feet out of the broom closet!

Stay tuned! My next post will be about my work in progress: a book and a plan for an apothecary. Thank you for joining me on my journey!