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A witch's guide to surviving Christmas

Dazed Beauty Wellness Editor Emilia Ortiz speaks to five witches and brujas about giving back and getting through this holiday season

Welcome to Beauty School, the corner of Dazed Beauty dedicated to learning. From guides to histories, this is where we shed light on past subcultural movements and educate our readers on current trends and various goings-on.

The colder seasons can be hard enough and when you add in the holidays it can be a recipe for disaster. Between being financially stressed, reminded of trauma and having forced family interactions, for many of us it’s hard not to expect things to go wrong. I connect my brujeria magic to my mental health all the time, to help me cope with the stress. Here are some ways you can too.

My number one piece of advice is: cleanse, cleanse, cleanse. Many of us are not in a place where we can just not show up for the holidays, even if that means being around toxic family members. If you’ve had family over, mop those floors and take a cleansing bath. You can also use Agua Florida soap, or a salt bar in the shower and meditate if you don’t have a tub. If you visited family for the holidays, smudge yourself before going into your home and take a bath after. Don’t bring that shit with you. Get their energy out and reclaim your space.

The other piece of advice I have is if you’re missing a loved one who has passed on: invite them to have a seat at the table. Include them in your holiday traditions. For me, sometimes that means hanging my Dad’s Grinch and other ornaments on the tree. Other times it means standing outside in the cold at my Mema’s where we have a tree for him and talking to the tree – it varies, but since they say we should get in the holiday spirit why not also invite some of your favourite spirits?

Here five other witches and brujas give their advice for surviving the holidays.

Lynsey Ayala, founder of BreadxButta Botanical CBD Wellness

I’ve tried plenty of rituals over the past few years to help with keeping my cup and pockets full during the holidays, but you know what always holds me down? Mojo bags. A Mojo bag is a pouch that contains one or more magical items of significance. You can think of it as a “manifestation kit”, a spell to be carried around with you and a physical reminder of your intention. I like to change up the contents of my bags every so often depending on what I’m making it for. Contents can include herbs, crystals, pendants, photos, notes, etc. If you’re not sure where to begin use your intuition and a little research. There are a few steps that are considered universal. The ritual for setting up your mojo bag is usually performed at an altar or sacred space and involves burning candles and smudges like sage, palo santo or incense. First, we start with a small drawstring bag, the colour of your bag can be intentional in your ritual. In this case, let’s say we’re using a green bag to represent abundance and prosperity. Second, make a list of items that you feel represent abundance. Suggestions include crystals such as citrine, jade or peridot, herbs like cinnamon and bay leaves, a pinch of sugar, money or coins. You want to light your candles and incense before you begin to add the contents to your bag. Focus in on the intention of why you’re making this bag and begin adding items. Once you’ve added all the contents to your mojo bag, pull the drawstrings and tie a tight knot. Hold on to your bag for a few minutes and remember your intention for making the bag. For every knot you tie you can say: “With these knots, I bind you to this purpose.” Get creative with how you set your intention, our words are spells. You can carry your mojo bag for a week and sleep with it near your bed. You can keep it for up to a year depending on the timeline of your intention. Feel free to renew with another ritual if you feel called to do so.

Amber, spiritual guide and healer

The best way to deal with the harder side of the holiday season is preparation. Facing what you don’t like about the season coming up, take a moment to think on the memories surrounding this time of year – missing people, disliking people, feeling alone, money pressure, letting go of old holiday memories and so on. When we face what we are fearing to repeat we are taking control.

A journal is a great way of doing organic spells for bettering relationships. You can write letters to yourself or those who are part of the pain. Start with the real deep stuff, it’s hard so can cause resistance but be brave, it’s a hurdle that once faced is nowhere near as scary. Be as brutally honest as you can be, remember you’re the only one reading it. Then finish with the dream scenario of what you would like to happen during the holiday season. Sign this letter off with love and then burn it to the universe/god/source/light/moon/all that is. The purpose is to feel more integral, lighter and opening you up to change so future holiday seasons can be better. Stay healing this holiday and remember it’s okay to feel at this time.

Chiquita Brujita, founder of Brooklyn Brujeria

Our bodies carry our spirits and our stress. Daily, but especially during the holidays, I try to make space and time to let my body rest, recover, and react to the inputs from the energy of the season. Whether that's long bubble baths with Epsom salts, rose petals, and Agua Florida, a simple flow yoga class, or dancing around the kitchen to drums at full volume, keeping the attention on the physical plane helps me centre and release. Lighting one of my Fuck Outta Here candles works for the most extreme moments too.

Porcia Lewis, hood mystic, spirit healer and tarot dealer

Before heading out or interacting with the people in your home, do yourself a favour and shower. Not just to cleanse your physical but also your spiritual body and energy field. That’s where the meditation starts. Set an intention to clear your energy for the day; to release the anxieties from past holidays; to keep an open mind, and not move defensively – because all you will do is attract that energy. Ask your ancestors and guides to surround and protect you throughout the entire day. Carry obsidian for protection and energy persistence.

Tatianna Morales, tarot reader and spiritual wellness guide

I have been relying on two particular tools in my spiritual toolbox that help me combat uncertainty, anxiety and ill vibes. They are my tarot cards and my Marcella Kroll Divine Palo Santo Clearing Oil blend. It’s always wise to consult with your spirits and ancestors on what to expect for the day, lessons to learn and how to best handle the energy. By taking proactive measures and checking in on your Spirit before you start your day (at any time of the year but especially during the hectic holiday season) you’ll be better equipped on how to best use and protect your own energy. A quick and efficient tarot spread is the typical 3-card pull. The first card will reveal: What can I expect the energy to be like today? (If you know you’re meeting up with someone unfavourable, you can switch this question up to ask about their energy as well). The second card will reveal: How does my Spirit will me to act today or in this situation? (Basically, how should you best handle this so that you’re most aligned with your path). And lastly: What is the lesson/value am I to take from today or this exchange? This pull equips you with the best knowledge to handle whatever can come your way for this holiday season. My friend Marcella, who is also a Tarot Reader and Healer, crafts these phenomenal Palo Santo Clearing roll-on oils that are so effective in removing emotional blockages and icky energy from your body. I love dabbing some on my chakra points and hands while reading clients or entering spaces with intense energy. She puts so much energy and intention into her blends and I can feel it immediately, plus Palo Santo is effectively used to eliminate dense energies and negativity from one’s space.