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Everyone should be able to enjoy this commercial holiday and no one should have to worry about seeing themselves represented negatively so others can have a good time.

A few weeks ago, a Twitter screenshot began to circulate calling for people not to dress up as witches for Halloween because it was in the same line as dressing up in something like Día de los Muertos face paint. The post posits that witches are a living culture and should be respected. Although I generally disagree with the overall argument, I do think that living magickal practices should be respected. My point of contention here is that the idea of the witch that children and adults are focusing on during the Halloween festivities has to do with a caricature version of witches created by the Church of England to persecute, namely, Catholics. Witch trials aside, a lot of the fanfare around witches has to do with that and has nothing to do with actual witchcraft. Pointy black hats, brooms for riding, copious amounts of black velvet, all of these, in my opinion are fine to dress up as. However, they are not ours. Halloween is not exactly Samhain, the Wiccan practice that happens on the same day. Although they do share the idea that spirits and the like can walk the earth around this time, Samhain is a religious celebration and has nothing to do with the commercial celebration of Halloween. That being said, there are many people who do identify as witches, be they Wiccan (the most popular witchcraft-based following in the US), Chaos magicians, or something else. There are also people who call themselves shamans, rootworkers, or vodou practitioners. These are all valid and living practices and are not there to be made into a costume. Although the wide world of “pagan” practice may seem like a free for all as to what anyone wants to believe, it is not. There are many religions with their own belief systems, and although some things are religious practices, such as Hoodoo or rootwork, other things like Vodou or Santeria, are religious with deities and rules. These practices should be respected. Related: The History of Dia de los Muertos and Why You Shouldn't Appropriate It

Below are some medicines that are effective in healing the heart, from a physical, mental and emotional perspective.

We pay homage to our ancestors. We recognize and give thanks to the ancestors whose names we know and those we don’t. We offer gratitude for their patience with us, especially as we learn to love ourselves the way they so eagerly give us their love & acceptance. We choose to heal our hearts, the way we see fit. We choose to support each other in our efforts around defining and engaging in our individual understandings of self-care. Give thanks for the reclaiming of our hearts. Ase.
This has been a hard time for our hearts. We have been shedding and letting go of some stuff we thought would be with us forever. Especially the people we thought would be with us forever. But that shedding has been necessary. Through these transitions, we realize that our hearts have held our pain and our fear for so very long, and we’ve relied upon them to carry more constriction than they were ever meant to; we cannot survive wholesomely on fear. Our spirits and our hearts crave the joy we are so often not allowed to claim in the current state of the world. We deserve to feel the immense amount of love that is vibrating around us; from family, friends, our spirit team, our lover(s), ourselves. Know that in the deepest depths of our self-loathing, there is still love there — often hard to syphon out, it lies in wait for you to catch it and elevate it. Your guides are sitting in wait for you too — trying to help your heart communicate with you and let you know what it needs and when. Below are some medicines that are effective in healing the heart, from a physical, mental and emotional perspective. These are medicines that will not interfere with any pharmaceutical methods of self-care that folks are engaging in. These methods can be integrated into any heart-healing ritual or be used as a jumping off point for one in-design:
Related: 6 MEDICINES TO PROTECT OUR COMMUNITIES FROM POLICE

Whether it be through prayer, meditation or dream speak, now is the perfect time to begin to navigate this power we are all capable of holding.

We pay homage to our ancestors. We recognize and give thanks to the ancestors whose names we know and those we don’t. We pay gratitude for their continued communicative efforts with us, for their guidance on our healing and their acts to ensure our return to them; our return to ourselves. Give thanks for our communion. Ase.
Natoya Hall is a seer who knows that her purpose in this life is to awaken others to their healing gifts, and carry messages of divine healing from the ancestral realm to ours. Her method is millions of years old, practiced by her Caribbean ancestors, and it has not only allowed her to transform the lives of her community, but it has healed her along the way. Hall is an energy worker, which she describes as an individual who “can harness the intricate energies of the Universe to heal self and others…[someone who] can access that portal within themselves that activates their infinite healing power.” And through opening this portal, one can freely commune with guides and ancestors, such that divine healing knowledge is communicated in-depth. As a Spiritual Guide and Tarot Reader, she works through clairvoyant and clairaudient communion with whom she defines as guides, ancestors, angels and God (Creator). She, like other healers/witches, works with spiritual energy. Spiritual energy, called ‘ase’ in Yoruban teachings, is the life-force that breathes existence into this earth, and it is with this force that we can create and shift circumstances on this earth, through blessing from the gods and our guides. It is this spiritual energy, or ase, that is fueled with the ancestral love that Hall believes facilitates her ability to heal (with) energy.
Related: HEALING THROUGH MAGICK FOR THE SOLSTICE

The upcoming lunar eclipse on August 7th offers us this beginning point. It’s a good time to reset, ground & charge up for the months ahead.

We pay homage to our ancestors. We recognize and give thanks to the ancestors whose names we know and those we don’t. We offer gratitude for the knowledge they want to offer us. We thank them for supporting us in developing the tools necessary to draw boundaries and step into our power. We thank them for the opportunity to release. Give thanks for our healing. Ase.
Cleansing was my first bit of magick. From being given ‘spirit baths’ to learning to clean my space(s) in order to accommodate my guides, my first lesson with all of my teachers was how to cleanse. Though each instructor carried a slight variation, the end result was the same: removing the sludge and the static to reveal to yourself where you are at, to open your space to your guides to inform you of what you should be doing and to offer tools to keep clear and aware of where you are going. When embarking on any new journey, it is always most liberating to clear away anything that you may carry that no longer serves you and clear space for new learning, claiming your power and holding new capabilities/gifts. The upcoming lunar eclipse on August 7th offers us this beginning point. It’s a good time to reset, ground & charge up for the months ahead. This is when we gather our energy and give ourselves something sacred, reflect on where we are at and expand into our next steps; clear the unnecessary and prepare space to welcome those who will guide us to our purpose and keep away those who eat off of our fear. The shadow of mercury stationed retrograde is already being felt, so quieting and clearing space and mind to organize these thoughts and sort through how to maintain healthy connection with the relationships that will nourish, develop and sustain us, is ideal.
Related: HEALING THROUGH MAGICK FOR THE SOLSTICE

Witches and workers of color deal with the realities of existing in today’s world and speak from a place that uses healing practices as a way to combat oppression while reclaiming heritage.

By Donyae Coles The world of online witchcraft and paganism can be very white-centric. Thankfully, online spaces have increased the visibility of practitioners and healers of color who are coming out from the shadows to embrace their magickal heritage on their own terms. For POC practitioners, the focus tends to be on healing and processing energy to increase protection and self-care. Witches and workers of color deal with the realities of existing in today’s world and speak from a place that uses healing practices as a way to combat oppression while reclaiming heritage. Here are eight healers of color you can follow online:  1. Brianna Suslovic: Brianna is a writer who is focused on racial and reproductive justice and LGBTQIA+ rights. Her work is often very topical and deals with what is happening the world today while also examining the practices of the past and how we can heal those injuries. For people who are new to the path, she is a good, slow introduction into the reality that this work is not all moonbeams and flower cuttings. She keeps her own blog here and Medium page. 2. Madame Omi Kongo: Madame Omi is a rootworker, she uses hoodoo practices to heal and help those who call on her. She comes from a long line of women who were in touch with their spiritual gifts and is carrying on the tradition. She uses and speaks on a brand of magickal traditions that have influenced her practice. Her Tumblr is full of bits of poetry and information for those who are interested in learning more about hoodoo and Black spirituality. She also has a personal site here and a Facebook here.
Related: I RECONNECTED TO MY BLACKNESS THROUGH HOODOO
3. This Black Witch: The Black Witch deals with social issues and calls out mainstream paganism for its white bias. This blog addresses culture with craft which is very important for people who are just getting started on their journey. Reading the work here can help people see that issues with racism and sexism are valid and real. She also conducts question and answer sessions. You can follow Black Witch on their blog, Facebook, and Twitter. 4. Traci Medeiros-Bagan: Traci is a therapist and educator who incorporates spiritual practices into her work. She is a QPOC and works with the LGBTQIA+ community to help them find healing and support. She writes about using tarot as a tool for self-care. You can read her blog here and she’ll be writing for the Little Red Tarot later this summer. 5. The Hoodwitch: Bri Luna is one of the first names to pop up when you’re looking for healers and magick folx of color online. She works as a tarot reader, astrologer, and sells supplies for cleansing and other spells through her online shop. She is also very vocally encourages POC to claim their roots and display their practices with pride. You can follow here at her blog here, on Facebook, or on Instagram.
Related: QUEER ACTIVISTS ARE USING MAGIC AS RESISTANCE

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