I’m writing this introduction waiting for a storm to hit southern Louisiana. The forecasts all day have changed from tropical storm to hurricane as each hour has progressed. The weather has moved across open waters and gained momentum, and it seems appropriate that I now focus on Gabriela Herstik in this moment: a young witch, gaining power and speed in our universe, a truly a force to be reckoned with.
Fashion alchemist, writer, and witch, Gabriela is the Resident Mystic at HelloGiggles, the voice behind the curtain of Nylon’s Ask a Witch monthly column, and is now the Silver Raven Witch for the millennials with her new book, Inner Witch: A Modern Guide to the Ancient Craft. Covering all of the bases from candles, herbs, crystals and tarot, creating and cleansing your sacred space, astrology, moon magic and goddesses, and more, Gabriela tells us:
You Are a Witch.
You Are Made of Magick.
Tell us about your first experience with magic. How old were you? Did you know then that you were a witch or was it something that you grew into?
The first time I experienced magick was when I was around 9 and living in Buffalo, New York. Our family had just finished building a house that was on a half an acre of land, with a small creek and woods behind it. I spent the day outside with my twin sister, playing in the forest and in the creek and collecting flowers. I remember feeling so different than I usually did, like I was in a dream. I was always enchanted with the nature in Buffalo [New York] and playing outside and in the creek became one of my favorite hobbies. Now I look back at my time in Buffalo and realize I was experiencing the magick of the earth for the first time. It was my first foray into the faery realm, and I don’t think I would be who I am without it. I still think about it often. I didn’t realize I was a witch until a few years later, when I was 11 or 12 and living in Atlanta. I had discovered A Witch’s Guide to Faery Folk and remembered going to Salem, MA on Halloween with my family a few years before. It was a near instant connection- I realized I was a witch, and Pagan, and automatically felt like I was coming home.
What are your thoughts on the fad of occultism in fashion ?
Honestly, I live for fashion magick and seeing people utilize fashion as a spiritual resource makes me really happy! BUT what doesn’t make me happy is when 1. It’s fast fashion chains who are co-opting sacred symbols / occult motifs, 2. Its brands who don’t know anything about the motifs they’re using on the clothing. Fast fashion is horrible for the earth and environment and uses sweat shop labor. This is the antithesis of what these sacred symbols and occult practices aim to do- especially those that work with the earth and her cycles. When brands co-opt occultism as a way to be trendy, I feel like they often miss the mark. There’s more to this than just looking cool! But I do love when brands work through an occult lens and do it intentionally and respectfully. Work WITH witches, ask us about our sacred symbols, charge your clothing with crystals, reiki and the moon, use crystals and talismans, work with the elements, use the wheel of the year to guide your releases and shows- there’s so many AMAZING ways to involve both fashion and occultism. HIRE ME TO HELP!!
Who are your writer witch icons? Why ?
Anais Nin, Sybil Leek, Doreen Valiente, Pam Grossman, Lisa Marie Basile, Kristin J Sollee, Starhawk, Patti Smith – there are so many but all of these women inspire my magick, spirit and soul. The witch isn’t static. There isn’t one definition of her that applies to everyone, or every writer. These women use words as witchcraft, weaving the ethereal and ephemeral with the permanent and physical. Each one of them defines the craft in their own way and creates based on that. I think that’s so special.
What would you caution young witches?
Don’t fall into the trap of “black and white” magick. Energy is energy; it is the witch who labels it using her own perspective. But to suggest that something positive or good is white, and something evil or bad is black is racist and oversimplified. Using your power to overthrow someone’s will is not a good luck; but sometimes it’s necessary to protect a group of people, or someone from the harm of an abuser, rapist, racist…etc. Don’t perform love spells on specific people. Don’t casually hex anyone. Learn all you can, practice, do what feels good! Remember that your magick doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s to be valid. Ask your family about their traditions and customs and folklore. Notice what lights you up and makes you feel alive and follow that. Find a trustworthy teacher you trust and learn from them. Oh and don’t forget to have FUN.
Can you share with us a glamor witch ritual that you perform for yourself?
Absolutely! I love basing my makeup off what sign the moon is in, or what my tarot card for the day is. I’ll meditate, do my morning practice and then pull cards or check my moon app, and use this is I’m not feeling inspired with my look. I love wearing pink and red for channeling my matron goddess Venus, or black and kink inspired accessories when I want some extra protection and boundaries. I love red lipstick and a cat eye to embody goddess energy too! I love to take a second at my altar and call upon my ancestors, guides and goddess to protect and bless the clothing and the body they lie upon as a way to embed extra magick into my day. I pair this with wearing talismans for some extra magick as well!
Want to win one of two copies of Gabriela’s new book, Inner Witch? Follow @HauteMacabre and @GabyHerstik on Instagram and then leave a comment below!
We’ll pick two winners at random from the comments one week from today on Monday, September 17, 2018 * contest has been closed and the winners have been contacted via email! Thank you all for entering!