“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


“Traditions Thriving in the Cross-Currents of Global Paganism”: A Call for Submissions for the Summer 2017 Issue of Isis-Seshat Journal

Seeking Submissions for the 2017 Summer Issue of Isis-Seshat Journal on the Theme of “Traditions Thriving in the Cross-Currents of Global Paganism”

Deadline: Monday, August 7
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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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The Date of Mitrovdan (November 8) and Serbian Lore Regarding the First Day of Winter and the “Master of Wolves”

Koleda (winter festival) spirit wolves. Masks made by artist Leon Uršič; photo courtesy of Primož Hieng

Koleda (winter festival) spirit wolves. Masks made by artist Leon Uršič; photo courtesy of Primož Hieng

“Know your history, know yourself. No history? Then you have no self to speak of.” –What my mother Milanka said to me over her coffee this morning as she and my dad began to regale me with Mitrovdan anecdotes

The ancient Serbs, like the ancient Celts, used to recognize two seasons: summer and winter, which, after Christianization, were marked by the fixed dates of the Feasts of Saint George (May 6) and Saint Demetrios (November 8), respectively. As a modern Pagan, it’s easy for me to see the parallels with the Great Sabbats of Beltane and Samhain in Celtic tradition, for those Days of Power did herald the beginnings of summer and winter. The parallel between the Feast of St. Demetrios–known as Mitrovdan in Serbian–and the Celtic Samhain is delineated even more clearly when one considers that in the Old Julian Calendar, Mitrovdan was commemorated on October 26. Continue reading