When I got the chance to ask Gabriela Herstik some questions about the phenomenon that is modern witchcraft, I couldn't be more excited. Now, if that phrase makes you roll your eyes and want to click out of this interview - hold your horses. It might be a totally new concept to you, or you may be well versed in the topic already. Either way, this interview gives us a brief introduction to modern witchcraft, as well as advice for the skeptics and some of Gabriela's tips on the most important tips for maintaining a positive energy in order to live a happy and fulfilled life.
Gabriela's website describes her as "a fashion critic and writer with a penchant for combining spirituality, style and storytelling" and I couldn't wait to get her thoughts on these introductory questions to ease us into this magickal world. Gabriela's column in Nylon "Ask A Witch" is hugely popular and for good reason and her book Craft will be hitting shelves March 15th.. With a sisterly writing style, a feminist outlook and a vast knowledge of spirituality and modern witchcraft, Gabriela is my new favourite person to follow. Read on to find out why.
Q: Why do you think crystal healing and modern witchcraft has grown in popularity over the last year?
I think that as we continue to live in patriarchal and politically tense society and world, women and femmes especially are looking for ways to reclaim their power and autonomy. Witchcraft and crystal magick are earth based practices, centered around our inner power, our inner voice and our own energy. No one can take away that inner flame and inner magick- no government, man, president, lover…etc.
In a scary and unsettling world, taking control over ourselves can not only give us a sense of purpose, but one of peace as well. As technology advances and we crave connection, where else do we return to but the earth and the practices of our ancestors? Back in the day, we’d honor the cycles of nature in community, we’d work closely with the earth and her energy. We crave something deeper, especially right now.
Beyond this, witchcraft places a big emphasis on the role of the feminine; the earth and the moon are often described as the great mother, gaia, mother earth, mother moon…etc and are often attributed she/her pronouns. I think we’re finding a way back the matriarchal and collaborative societies our ancestors were in; where women would sit in circles and hold space for each other. We’re tired of the patriarchy.
Crystals, besides being pretty, are some of earth’s most ancient healers. They have been around for forever, and have evolved with the earth. They hold the earth’s wisdom in them. They’re also beautiful to look at and make a space more inviting. Working with crystals may be trendy, but the thing is it’s always been in style (just ask Cleopatra!) Crystals are such an easy way to channel magick, it makes sense they’re more popular than ever.
Q: What advice would you give to the crystal-skeptics out there?
My advice is you don’t have to believe in anything you don’t want to, but what’s stopping you? People work with crystals for a variety of reasons. Some use them to heal, some use them to connect with an intention, some just like them because they’re beautiful! And do some research- ancient peoples have been working with crystals and gemstones for thousands and thousands of years.
My advice would be to pick out a stone that catches your eye and then research its properties. A lot of times, we pick out what we need. Then take a few deep breaths while holding the crystal in your non-dominant hand and see how you feel. If anything, put your stone in a space that you can see. Your crystal should make you happy!
Q: What are your three top tips for self-care and maintaining a positive energy?
- Be grateful! Taking time to say thank you, to count your blessings, to allow yourself to bask in the life you’ve created. Sometimes this can be really hard, so I know using mantras like “the universe is working in my highest favor” can be really helpful. But changing thought patterns to see the good instead of the bad is completely transformative.
- BREATHE! Seriously, if you’re anything like me, you always forget to breathe. I set alarms five times a day to literally remind me to breathe and when they go off I place a hand on my stomach and take a few deep, intentional breaths. This not only helps you reconnect to the moment and present, but also to your body. Taking time throughout the day, even if it’s in traffic or at your desk, to breathe deeply and with intention is so important.
- Cleanse yourself and space and don’t forget boundaries! Creating energetic boundaries for yourself is so important. Whether that’s limiting time with social media, scheduling alone time or time with friends, or having a difficult conversation with a bff or partner, boundaries are VITAL. Standing up for yourself and your energy is a really great way of creating a positive space for yourself to exist in. And, this extends to your personal space as well. Cleanse yourself with selenite, palo santo or sage and then do the same with your room. (Alternatively, you can use a spray if you can’t burn the herbs.) Take a salt bath every week, or schedule time to journal and cleanse your mind. Smudge your space with sage, palo santo or spray. Sprinkle salt in the corners. Buy yourself fresh flowers. Meditate and dance or chant. Giving yourself enough time to reset as often as necessary is so important.
Gabriela's book Craft is coming out 15th March and is a book I urge you all to read, for Gabriela's unique voice and empowering words to help you reshape your life. Craft has been described as "The essential lifestyle guide for the modern woman who wants to take control, reconnect with herself, and dive in to all things #witchy." What's not to love?!
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