Every so often, I stumble across a book that becomes my obsession. Light Magic for Dark Times has become my latest book crush. It’s not out yet but I’ve eagerly anticipating the release ever since I learned about it. (I seriously check every week to see if it’s released early!)
Light Magic for Dark Times is a mystical tome of spells and rituals for times of crisis. With the way the world has been heading, I have lost more than a few nights sleep worrying about the future. If you’ve been feeling the same way, or dealing with other, more personal dilemmas, this might be the book for you. In fact, I think it really might be the book we all need right now.
Author Lisa Marie Basile, poet and founding creative director of Luna Luna Magazine, is the woman behind this amazing, modern grimoire. Lucky for me (and you, my gentle readers), she took time to dish with me about the book, magic, and more. Check it out:
1. What inspired you to write Light Magic for Dark Times? Why this book now?
Lisa: Light Magic for Dark Times is a response to the general feeling of helplessness and trauma that I think many of us are facing–globally and personally. We’ve seen such division, pain, and sorrow lately, but we’ve also seen relentless love, light, support, community, justice, and peace. I wanted to create an inspired book, a little grimoire of magical practices and rituals, to help us tap into that whole spectrum. I wrote it for the dreamers and doers amongst us, for the experienced witches and those new to magic, and for people who are looking for a self-care practice that feels ritualized, a little bit structured, and ultimately transformative. Basically, I want people to make magic, explore their inner witch, and take some out for themselves–whether that’s through shadow work, journaling, tarot, or casting spells.
2. How has magic helped you? Can you share a personal story?
Lisa: I came to magic as a teen. My family was falling apart–and we ended up in homeless shelters and later, in foster care. I had absolutely lost my footing, and I felt like my world was spiraling. I found a book on witchcraft (by Silver Ravenwolf) and started there. I then went to the library and began reading all sorts of books on witchcraft, magic, mysticism–and it made sense to me to start creating rituals, little, intention practices that made me feel less like a sad kid and more like someone who has the strength to get through it.
The emotion I had, all the trauma and pain, fed my spellwork. I noticed that when we really, really bring ourselves to our magic, and show up with vulnerability and intention, magic works. That ferocity and austerity is something we lose a little as we grow up and second guess ourselves…but witchcraft and magic help me refocus. Sure, I totally casted spells to find a “cute boy,” but mostly I worked magic to bring healing and unity to my family, and to give me strength and resilience. It worked.
3. What is your advice for people who are feeling hopeless with the present state of the world?
Lisa: First of all, hugs!!! It is an awful feeling — watching such physical, environmental, and emotional destruction. The racism and sexism gets to be overwhelming. I believe very much that when we create and give light, we actively reduce a little bit of the darkness in the world. Magic can be made through being kind, saying a few nice words to someone, lighting a candle for hope, taking action in your community, and standing up for someone who isn’t in a position to do so for themselves. It’s wearing bright colors to conjure joy. It’s programming a crystal that you carry in your pocket for strength. Essentially, it’s little rituals and practices that you make habitual that continuously serve to empower yourself and the people around you.
4. The book’s subtitle is “More than 100 Spells, Rituals, and Practices for Coping in a Crisis.” Can you elaborate on how magic is a perfect ally during a crisis?
Lisa: Magic is our internal essence, and it’s what in nature; it’s intuition, it’s the ability to change and transform through hard times, it’s the way we recalibrate and change direction and adapt. During times of immense instability, loss, and pain, it might be hard to get back to yourself. This could be due to political rage, of course. But it might also be to do with the loss of a family member or pet, a lack of confidence, or just a lack of creative direction. Magic lets us refocus on ourselves and find an anchor, a spot from which to bloom and grow. That’s because it gives us the space and time to settle, ground, and direct our energies. I have include a bunch of spells and rituals and practices for everything from grief and trauma, but also for regeneration, witchy self-development, and inner exploration.
5. What’s the one spell or ritual that you think everyone could benefit from?
Lisa: My favorite ritual is lighting a nightly candle on my altar. My altar is something I carefully tend to, on a weekly basis–it is covered in power objects: a stone that represents what I want to represent that week, books that inspire me, different scents for different purposes, magical objects (like a key, one of my favorite, which represents exploration and movement), a plant (I use a resurrection plant a lot, for resilience) and tarot cards that symbolize my intent. Each night, I light a candle and stand before it. I close my eyes, ground myself, and focus. This allows me a moment after a long day to tap into my magic and honor my needs. I think everyone could benefit from something similar!
6. Lastly, what is your magical advice for those folks who are out there on the front lines fighting injustice every day?
Lisa: I include a practice in my book for this very topic. Get connected to nature. Nature allows us to connect with our bodies and breath, and forces us to ground all that chaotic, painful, wired energy. Standing with your feet on the earth cleanses and refreshes–so that you can fill your tank again. Burnout is real, especially with emotional labor. Nature helps us re-up our tanks, so to speak. And it allows us a chance to get quiet, and feel alive in a time of pain. It’s not selfish to take care of yourself; if you don’t, you can’t take care of others.
I’m so honored that Lisa Marie took the time to chat with me. And you can bet your sweet grimiore that I’m first in line to get my copy! I’ll let you know what I think once I have this in my mitts!
Bio: Lisa Marie Basile is the founding creative director of Luna Luna Magazine—a digital diary of literature, magical living and idea. She is the author of “Light Magic for Dark Times,” a modern grimoire of inspired rituals and daily practices. She’s also the author of a few poetry collections, including the forthcoming “Nympholepsy.”
Her work encounters the intersection of ritual and wellness, chronic illness, magic, overcoming trauma, and creativity, and she has written for The New York Times, Narratively, Sabat, The Establishment, Refinery 29, Bust, Hello Giggles, and more. Lisa Marie earned a Masters degree in Writing from The New School and studied literature and psychology as an undergraduate at Pace University.
© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2018
images proved by Lisa Marie Basile