Cassandra Snow

Magickal. Practical. Radical.

Cassandra Snow is a tarot card reader, writer, and theater artist professionally. This website is focused on her life in tarot, with substantial references to witchcraft, LGBTQ+ community, and chronic illness.

Filtering by Category: Paganism

My Water Altar! (Plus How to Build Your Own!)

Creating an Elemental Altar

 

I work very well with altars. I have one to Hecate and my ancestors. I have an ongoing prosperity spell that has become it's own altar. My living room windowsill collects more and more things to and from Hestia. Then the other night, I was re-reading the blog I penned shortly after my birthday and checking in with myself about how I was feeling on the whole “leaning into my emotions” thing when it hit me: I need a Water altar. I am a Pisces babe through and through, even when I suppress it. Which means that in times when I'm trying to heal and push myself to allow my own watery tendencies to heal me, I needed an altar to work with to push me on my way. I decided to build my Water Altar for two reasons:
 

  1. To have a daily visual, spiritual reminder to honor my truest, most watery self every day.

  2. To have an altar paying respect to the spiritual entities that come from or frequently work with water.

I'm so happy with how my altar is looking already that I thought I'd share how to curate appropriate objects and build your own elemental altar. Whether you need to build an altar to your own sign's element, to an element who's energy you're lacking, or if you need a specific element's help for a specific spell or ritual, this should help. Here's what I put on mine:

  1. A tarot card! Obviously the first thing I rifled through to serve as the base of my water altar was the tarot deck I use for spellwork. I pulled out the Ace of Cups. The Ace of the corresponding suit is ideal; a Court card or any you strongly connect with would also work.

  2. Objects organically and responsibly given from that element. Examples would be feathers or leaves for Air. Stones and twigs work great for Earth. Matches or charcoal would work splendidly for Fire. In the case of Water, I used Lake Superior Agate that I pulled in real life, nautilus shells friends have given me over the years, a starfish I received as part of a gift basket once, and some seashells I picked up on an L.A. Beach. I do have two hard and fast rules for this part of building any altar, but especially one to an element. Number One: I don't take from anywhere with a sign posted saying I can't. Number Two: I have to ask a Spiritual Entity for permission (and receive that permission), even if it feels like something is screaming for me to take it. Gifted objects also work great for this part though, so if you are someone who doesn't take from nature at all, that's a perfectly reasonable way to add such objects.

  3. A touch of whimsy! I have a glass whale I've had forever that looks so cute sitting at the head of the water altar. I have a sea turtle that I'm sussing out if it belongs there are not. Relevant charms from a charm casting set or charm jewelry set also work. Toys, poems, song lyrics you wrote down—anything that adds a touch of whimsy and lightness will make those elemental energies very happy and eager to collaborate with you.

  4. Anything else that speaks to you. My black moonstone was screaming to go on the altar, and my quartz pendulum seemed pretty happy too. This altar wants NO fire as of now, so I left off candles. This is a purely intuitive side of the work, and a crucial one because of that.

  5. The actual element! A candle that you light daily for Fire, stones or a literal cup of dirt for Earth, incense or an ethically harvested bird skeleton for Air are great examples of this. I literally just made Moon Water in a mason jar and stuck it on my altar.

That's it! No need to overcomplicate it. Besides, I'm a firm believer in living altars, which means I'll still use that pendulum on the go sometimes and it goes with me that day. Other stones may wanted added, or the Black Moonstone may end up getting used a different way. Tokens and emblems I find at a beach or receive as a gift could end up getting added, or not. I let my altars grow or shrink and use what's there when I work with it. I'd love to see pictures of your own elemental altars—hit me up on social media to show off!

Blessed Be y'all!

Oatmeal, Lavender and Hyssop Bath--oh my!

Hello all! I'm doing a quick blog today to give you a recipe for a Spiritual Cleanse: this one's a bath! This is one of my favorite rituals that I've almost perfected over the past couple of years. I have a small tub, so adjust accordingly to the size of yours. This bath is perfect for: New Moon Rituals, special full moons (I did it on the last super Moon, for example, after a trying year so far), any Sabbat/holiday/special ritual devoted to cleansing, or anytime it just feels like you're carrying to much "stuff" around with you and it's time to shuck it off.

 Obviously I found this photo online, though normally all photos are my own.

Obviously I found this photo online, though normally all photos are my own.

In a small wooden or porcelain bowl, I pour:

  • 1/2 cup of oatmeal
  • handful or two of lavender buds
  • smaller handful of hyssop OR you can use hyssop oil
  • 2-3 big drops of eucalyptus oil
  • 1-2 drops of peppermint oil (the smell is often a little overpowering and I prefer to smell the lavender as theprimary note)
  • a couple of crumbled, dry sage leaves (2-3 large or 5 medium)

    ***If you prefer, any skin safe oils can be applied directly into bath water***

After it's all in there I use a small spoon or spatula and mix it up until the smell, look, and texture is evenly spread and a little more cohesive. I have a small stash of small mesh bags that tie off that I poured it all into, but if you don't have such a bag, any handmade mesh, cheesecloth, or even pantyhose-style nylon satchel will work. (Bonus, you can do some knot spells as you tie off the handmade ones!) As I mix and pour I think about all the stuff I'm try to cleanse and scrub away with the bath. This is a pretty intense cleansing spell, so the further into that pain, frustrating, aura-murking stuff you can, the better you can let yourself go, the better. Then I light sage in the bathroom itself, run my bath, and toss my satchel into it while it fills up. I usually light a candle and do this in the dark, but that's completely unnecessary. I just have a thing about overhead lights. (I hate them.) In that time I try to clear my mind and focus on what my goals are afterwards. What does shedding this murkiness and ick look like? What happens tomorrow when I'm spiritually squeaky clean and invigorated. I put and aim those intentions into the bath, then I bathe! I usually just sit in the nice, scented hot water, occasionally squeezing the satchel for an extra "oomph" for awhile. I use a washcloth or loofah to actually bathe and scrub myself towards the end though, because I like physicality. I don't think it's actually necessary. Then I rinse, drain, and towel off!

I feel an IMMEDIATE difference usually, but I'll suck down some cold, filtered if possible, water and get a solid eight hours if I can too, because those things really help you feel it the NEXT day, and moving forward. This past one went EXTREMELY well. I feel almost reborn, which isn't the norm, but I always feel more clear-headed and like I've let go of all of those minor irritations that lead to big things.

Feel free to use as often as you feel necessary It's also a really nice, relaxing bath otherwise so you don't have to put all the extra woo and witchcraft in every time.

Until next time, Blessed be!

Basic Witchery for When Life Is SO Bad (or Busy) You Just Can't

I am beyond stressed right now. Beyond. I need an apartment confirmed last week and I am still searching. I have spent so much money on housing applications that I'm questioning how necessary eating is (very important, don't follow my path on this). I am exhausted. I run a theatre company, I write actually professionally, and I run a tarot business. On top of that I am chronically ill, and now I am spending hours a week house hunting.

Suffice it to say, my daily spiritual care has taken a bit of a backseat. BUT never fear, I'm here to talk about the things I DO remember to do every day (and you can too!) to stay as grounded, focused, and feeling like my witchy, whimsical, overly ambitious self.

  • Carry your stones around. It sounds obvious, but I leave them on my altar most of the time...but I don't really have an altar right now, so they are in a box and my favorites/the most necessary ones get pocketed every day. I have a peacock ore I got in LA that I feel almost paternal towards, and a small jet palm stone. Both of those help me find and center myself when the anxiety seems overwhelming. And when that doesn't work, tourmilated quartz specifically works to turn overwhelm to joy, and unakite is sometimes thought to pull negativity right out of you. Those are MY favorites for trying or hectic times, but you may have some of your own. Find some time to sit with them in your hands, or just give them a QUICK charge of your energy in the morning.
  • Essential oil! (or oil mixes) A lot of them can not be applied directly onto your skin without some problems, so ask your friendly metaphysical store clerk before assuming. Once you have one that is, keep a small vial near you for whatever purposes you need. I like Dragon's Blood for urgency, and have some Rosemary and Peppermint I mixed myself to cry out to Hestia right now. I also have prosperity and protection mixes that I like. I bring this up, because a lot of times we get them for aromatherapy diffusers or to dress candles or do other extensive work with, but if you have a skin-safe oil, you can just slap it on your pulse points and under your nose, say a (QUICK!) incantation, and be on your way.
  • Incantations: for focus, for calm, and for anything else you need in the moment. My meditative practice is really more of a theory right now, but I still take a few seconds every few hours to fondle my amethyst and moonstone pendants, and restate my intentions for the day. It takes maybe 10 minutes total throughout the whole day.
  • Light a candle while you're doing other stuff. Enough said. Sprinkle herbs on your windowsill. Pet an animal. Get your feet in the dirt or natural water for even one minute. Shower more consciously, with more attention to the water and your body.

These are a few of the things I trade off when daily meditations and nightly candle lightings can't happen, and no, it's not perfect and I still feel like I'm falling apart throughout much of my day--but I can calm my panic and meet most of my goals, magickal or otherwise, with keeping up my efforts but changing what they look like. Hope this is helpful to you too, and I'd love to hear how you stay witchy when life is wicked.

Blessed be!

Magick Doesn't Have To Be Candles and Chanting

Last Full Moon, not this one, I was preparing a bath for physical healing and gearing up my playlist for emotional healing, my intended spellwork a simple deep breath and succumbing to the water and music. As I let the steam rise and Cher belted out "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me" it occurred to me that when people starting an alternative spiritual path tell me they don't know where to start, they're likely already doing so many amazing things that already are "magick", "spellwork", or even "prayer." So this is a completely non-comprehensive list for mystical newbies of all the ways you can "start practicing" by simply noting or more purposely intending the things you already do. It's mostly meant to get your brain jogging.

  • I already mentioned music--if there are songs in any genre that get you in a clear headspace, amp you up for your next project, or make you feel confident, or sexy, or grateful, sit and actually listen and take them in when you need to conjure that.
  • Food! I am 99% sure that most of you reading eat at least a couple of times a day. Try planning a few meals a week super intentionally. I'm not talking about super advanced kitchen witchery which can feel intimidating, but try thinking about what food makes you feel healthy, confident, or connected to others and plan your meals around that.
  • Dress more intentionally. Most people do dress somewhat intentionally for the day, but you can go something extra and mystical to your morning routine just by taking a couple of minutes to think about what you're putting on. If you're trying to attract wealth, are you allowing yourself to wear your "nicer" clothes with any regularity? Because you probably should be. If you're trying to attract love, are you wearing clothes that make you feel sexy and confident? If you're trying to heal your body are you wearing clothes that are comfortable, airy, and allow for movement? You can amp this practice up if you know color coordinates, too. Red not only helps with love and sex, but may make you feel confident and passionate about your presentation at work, for example.
  • Home decor! Feng Shui gets a bad rap, in part because no one in the Western world really knows what they're doing. However, the ideas are solid and it stands to reason that the colors, shapes, and memories attached to the objects in your home make you feel a certain way when you see them. So much of my own Paganism is rooted in stone work but you don't have to keep crystals around--any tokens that make you feel confident, healing, and inspire you to manifest the things you want out of life should be visibly placed in your living space.

Those are just a couple of ways you can dip your toes into the endless pools of mysticism (and a few examples of how). Feel free to add your own below!

Blessed be, y'all.

Witch on the Go! Packing Tips

I've been a practicing Pagan for a number of years, and I've been struck with a bad case of wanderlust basically my entire life. It's not practical for my wallet or the things that keep it from being empty to pick up and take luxurious excursions when the mood strikes me, so I do a lot of day trips or overnights to get some fresh-to-me air and perspective. I do have a daily spiritual practice that involves prayer, meditation, and tarot if not out-and-out spellcraft, and as such I have my minimalist packing down to a tee.

The biggest tip I can give is to think about the most bare basics of what you do every day, and pack that plus one or two "Extras". I use an astrology-inspired scarf to wrap it all up together, but anything to keep it safe and together--a box, a bag, etc. is fine. Truth be told, I can practice my religion with nothing, but I know a lot of witches can not, and I do love using other stuff. For example, this is what I'm packing to visit the wild city of Blooming Prairie, MN tomorrow and Saturday. By wild city, I mean friends from college live there.

Pictured above are:

  • A very, very condensed version of my gems collection. They include two blue lace agates--one I found in my apartment and one I found in Lake Superior on a different day trip meant to boost confidence and communication skills, a small snowflake obsidian point for grounding and protection, an amethyst to keep my third eye and creative skills sharp, and a clear quartz for general energy work while there.
  • A tea light candle. I can use this for almost everything--meditation, to amplify the quartz' work, a quick candle spell. 
  • Small vials of Prosperity oil, which I can anoint the candle with or just wear to attract abundance even while I'm out playing, and Vanilla perfume--thought to attract both love and money.
  • A cinnamon whisk. This was a stroke of luck find at Trader Joe's. It's a very small heather broom coated in cinnamon oil. It smells unreal amazing, and was $1. I use it for clearing my space and to draw positive, protective, and attraction energies into it.

Additionally, I take my journal, which serves as my Book of Shadows and idea log as well, and my Witches' datebook everywhere with me. I always have at least one tarot deck on me, but have this tiny, adorably twee deck specifically for quick trips since it fits anywhere, and still pumps out super accurate, weirdly concise readings.

That's about it--a few rocks, an oil or two, a tea light, and a small, natural multi-use implement of your choosing, and you could really get by for several days doing even heavy spiritual work. Some people will pack cone incense as well, but some hosts don't like it, so I usually forgo it. Just bring something to channel your thoughts (my deck), and something to process or record them (journal/book of shadows) and you should be good to go!

If anyone reading has tips or tricks for traveling magick, feel free to add to the conversation below. Blessed be!