My Experiences at UAC 2018: Part 1

I’ve had a week to process the conclusion of one of the most formative experiences of my life: the 9th United Astrology Conference (UAC), which was held here in Chicago from May 23 to May 30. Sponsored by the International Association for Astrological Research, the American Federation of Astrologers, the National Council for Geocosmic Research, the American College of Vedic Astrology, and the Association for Astrological Networking, UAC is the world’s largest international astrology conference, and it gathers every three, six, or nine years somewhere in North America. I felt so lucky to have had this 2018 9th gathering take place so close to my house, which definitely helped as a cost-saving measure; I certainly wouldn’t have been able to attend if it were held elsewhere.

Cover of program

Cover of the UAC 2018 printed program. I feel like the little girl on the swing is a perfect portrait of my inner child, bob haircut and all!

This week-long “staycation” for me was prompted by a profound inner urging to not just accelerate the developments of my skill sets in astrology as a profession, but to heed the soul’s prompting to undergo a profound journey of self-discovery and self-actualization, a journey which entailed a major healing process for me as well—one that I didn’t (consciously) know that I needed. So many of us ask “the biggies” about what we are doing here on this earth, the lessons our incarnation brings us (as well as how to resolve past lessons so we don’t tote around so much karmic baggage!), and how to find our true purpose by maximizing the gifts we were born with and living a fulfilling life of self-development and service to others. And through it all, we acknowledge the acutely limited time allotted to us as mortal beings, which definitely adds to a sense of urgency to “figure it all out” before we grow too old and convince ourselves that our dreams have eluded us.

As Above, So Below

That’s the beauty of studying astrology. By highlighting the interrelatedness of the cycles found in the “Greater”/Cosmos with the cycles in the life of the “Lesser”/Individual—yoking together an understanding of “the Without” with “the Within”—astrology affirms a worldview based on the assumption that Divine Intelligences exist and are constantly orchestrating a meaningfully notated symphony of All That Is. Using the tools of astrology, people can pinpoint the section of the symphony that they are tasked to play and see how their individual parts relate to the whole. I’m not using this musical metaphor blindly  because the perfection of numbers (yes, I’m a Pythagorean!) is at the heart of it all.

The greatest joy for me as an astrologer is to hold up that veritable cosmic mirror to a client and see how he or she lights up when coming to a profoundly joyful acceptance of their Being and Becoming as revealed through the language of planetary positions and placements in their natal and progressed charts. The “Aha!” moments of self-recognition are facially expressed with widened eyes and huge grins: yes, that’s why I knew I never wanted children—Saturn in Cancer in the 5th House!

I had a plethora of such “Aha!” moments myself throughout the entire magical week of UAC 2018. If you’d care to take my hand, I’ll walk you through my experiences by day, each of which seemed to have its own distinct Elemental character.

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“The Price of Our Rage”: A Dark Song (2016) as Cinematic Foray into “Low” Magic

I wish there were more overlap between horror film fans and occultists when it comes to giving reviews of spooky movies with strong occult themes. Since Nature abhors a vacuum, I’ll gladly step right in here, folks! While the film I’m reviewing, A Dark Song, came out in 2016 (to much critical acclaim, a feat all the more striking when you consider that this film serves as the directorial debut for Ireland’s Liam Gavin), and is thus not “new,” it is new to me and I only heard of it in the past week because of the wonderfully astute targeted marketing engine that drives Netflix! A Dark Song is a visually lush (absolutely captivating cinematography of Ireland’s brooding soulscapes), suspenseful, taut film (1 hour, 40 minutes long) with stellar acting performances and an unforgettable ending. It’s something that everyone with ceremonial magic ritual experience ought to see: at its core, we’re treated to a shamanic Underworld journey that vindicates so-called “Low” Magic. (If you’re expecting me to spell “magic” with a “k” tacked on at the end, sorry not sorry to disappoint because this is my editorial style!)  Continue reading

Devotional Ritual to Sekhmet with Spellwork to Reverse the Evil Eye

This past Saturday evening, I had the pleasure of leading a workshop on ancient Egyptian magic at World Tree Healing bookstore and metaphysical resource center here in Chicago. Called “Hands-On Heka,” the workshop I devised featured an overview on the three types of magic, as I classify them, that we know that ancient Egyptians of all social strata practiced: funerary magic, ritual magic, and everyday (sometimes referred to as “crisis-mode”) magic. From this latter category, I devised a devotional ritual to the great goddess Sekhmet, Lady of Power, which featured a historically verified spell meant to reverse the Evil Eye. The spell involved the creation of a papyrus talisman, which we did together as a group based on a hieroglyphic prayer I created to evoke Sekhmet’s aid for spiritual protection. However, there was follow-up work for the ritual participants/workshop attendees to do once they returned to their homes: once activated, the papyrus talisman had to be “put to work” in what is arguably history’s oldest form of the Witch Bottle.

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I’ll Be Teaching a Workshop on Ancient Egyptian Magic at World Tree Healing in Chicago on March 18!

Mark your calendars, Chi-Town peeps, and anyone who may be visiting the city on Saturday, March 18 who may be interested in learning about ancient Egyptian magic! I’ll be leading a two-hour “Hands-On Heka” workshop at World Tree Healing metaphysical resource center in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood from 5 – 7 o’clock that evening.

Behold, the power of marketing copy:

“Hands-On Heka: Magic in Ancient Egypt”

For centuries, much of the world agreed with Clement of Alexandria (3rd century C.E.), who referred to ancient Egypt as “the mother of magicians.” In this workshop, Rev. Anna Applegate, a legally ordained Priestess in the international Fellowship of Isis, will give an overview of magic, or heka, in ancient Egypt, focusing on the three main divisions of funerary magic, ritual magic (performed in temples), and everyday magic. Participants will get to experience hands-on heka by creating papyri talismans to keep.

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Magically Charged Water: Clearing Physical Space in Ifá

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, Spring Equinox is a little more than three weeks away. Many of us partake of time-honored rituals this time of year that have to do with purging and purifying our homes, from thorough physical scrubbing and scouring of our living spaces to donating old clothes and housewares that no longer meet our needs. As we discard the old and unwanted, we open our heads, hearts, and homes to receiving the new, as it should be.

As invigorating as a good housecleaning can feel once you’ve finished, I don’t believe in resting on your laurels. Better to follow up work done on the material plane with a thorough spiritual cleansing of your home, which should occur during the day and not at night (morning is ideal, but anytime after the sun has risen). I have a recipe my Oluwo (Godfather) in Ifá recently shared with me in person and which I have permission, in turn, to share with the aleyo (non-initiate) community.  Continue reading

Novena to La Santa Muerte: Day 2

For the second day of the Novena to La Santa Muerte, which should be a Wednesday, study how the white three-day candle you lit the previous day is burning. Is the glass clear or smoky at its top edges? That can indicate Divine favor or the withholding of it (or challenges to the manifestation of your prayers). How is the flame behaving? If it’s active, flickering and making little crackling sounds, La Santísima is busy at work on your behalf. A slow but steady burn is fine too.

Dump out the stale water in Her clear glass from the previous day and offer fresh water, same thing with the tequila. If the bolilo bread roll has hardened overnight, swap it out with a fresh one. (Never throw bread in the garbage; I always crumble mine up and feed it to birds.) Cookies and candies from the previous day are still good to retain on the altar, as are the flowers (tip: chrysanthemums are traditional flowers for the dead in Mexican culture and they’re hardy and long-lasting, thus they’re ideal to offer to La Santa Muerte).

The second day of the Novena introduces a prayer that is illustrative of the “command and control” magic that is a staple of La Santa Muerte’s cultus. If someone has wronged you, or if a lover’s commitment to you seems dubious, feel free to add three drops of either Holy Death oil, Adam & Eve oil, or Do As I Say oil to recalibrate any imbalance. Petitions to redress injustice are best addressed to La Santa Muerte Verde (the green-robed La Santísima).

 

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