Reina is a freelance writer and professional tarot reader. She writes about tarot and witchcraft and hopes to show how to lead a magical life through spirituality, respect for nature, and taking charge of your own story.
1) Tell us about your favorite rituals.
I grew up Catholic, and my favorite thing about it was the comfort of regular ceremonies like Sunday mass and praying upon waking and before bed. I wasn’t particularly religious, but I was uncompromising about having those blocked-off times in a day or week to reflect and communicate with the God I believed in.
Nowadays, I no longer identify as Catholic, but I recognize that praying and going to mass had been protective, grounding, and communicative rituals. I continue to start and end my day with moments of reflection, taking stock, and speaking with the Universe; and casting a protective circle for the day or for sleep.
2) How do your rituals fit into your morning or night routines? How much time do you allocate for them?
My morning rituals fit into the space between waking and becoming a human being fit for company. I usually crack open a window and let the sunlight wake me up gradually - studies show that jolting yourself awake is bad for your health anyway! - as I sip my coffee and pray for guidance for the coming day. My morning rituals only take a few minutes, as I can’t really linger too long when there’s a busy day ahead.
Meanwhile, I do my evening rituals in the bathroom, sometimes with my journal and tarot cards, other times simply sitting in front of my altar and having a quiet chat with the Universe about how the day went. The evening rituals naturally take longer, as there’s more to process and reflect on at the end of the day.
3) What tools, items or products do you use in doing your rituals?
The thing is, if you read books on witchcraft (or dive into the #witchstagram tag), getting into the craft feels daunting because they recommend items and tools that aren’t accessible to the average Filipino.
The idea is that the more organic and natural a material is, the stronger your connection to nature and its spirit will be. And as witchcraft demands respect for nature, it’s important to be environmentally-conscious too. But I won’t shy away from admitting that these tools may cost money that not everyone has. Crystals and oils are expensive, sage and herbs aren’t widely available, and items made of glass and natural materials will cost more than tools made of plastic.
The wonderful thing about witchcraft, however, is that there is no right or wrong way to do it. You’re allowed to work with what’s available - and you won’t be punished by an old man in the sky for doing a ritual differently! I’ve never sprung money for sage or crystals; in my rituals, I prefer to use easily accessible items representing the four elements:
Rain water or Holy Water for Water
Candles for fire
Incense for Air
Pebbles for Earth
At the end of the day it’s the strength and clarity of your intention that will carry a ritual, and not whether your space looks aesthetic or #witchstagram-worthy.
Skye Alexander, author of The Modern Guide to Witchcraft, says of sacred spaces: “[A] sacred space is an area you’ve cleansed of distractions and energy that you don’t want to interfere with your magical work. Within this purified zone, you may choose to meditate, make offerings, and conduct spells or rituals.”
I do almost all of my rituals in the bathroom, where privacy can be expected. Apart from my prayers, I don’t do any rituals in the bedroom - remnants of shifting moods or energies are not something I want hanging around the place where I sleep! It used to freak my man out that tarot cards, crucifixes, and jars of rain water reside in our bathroom. But nowadays he proudly tells people I'm a tarot reader and witch, and has been known to text me stuff like "What time can I pee?" when I'm taking too long doing magic in there!
5) How did these rituals help you on a daily basis?
My daily rituals are both communicative and protective.
My morning prayers, for example, usually say that I’m thankful for last night’s sleep and for waking up to a new day. I cast a circle for protection and guidance in making the right decisions for whatever lies ahead. It takes more effort to scramble for direction when you’re put on the spot at a crucial moment like, Universe, are you there? I need you! It’s far easier to start the morning plugged in and consciously remind myself that I’m already guided every step of the way!
My evening prayers, on the other hand, help me express how grateful I am for the good stuff that happened that day. If things have not gone well, I remind myself that I can’t control everything, and I pray for rest so I can try again tomorrow with a clear head. Then I cast a circle for protection against nightmares and interruptions as I sleep. I rarely (by which I mean almost never) skip these rituals. It is of supreme importance that each day is bookended with a moment of gratitude, mindfulness, and connection to a power that is greater than myself.
Mass. As I mentioned, I used to be uncompromising about it: I would go even if we were on vacation, even if I had a badly-timed shift, even when we lived in places where there weren’t any churches nearby. I went to mass to be close to God, but it also felt dissonant to be close to God while listening to the church’s outdated teachings about humanity. Quitting church and getting into witchcraft never felt like breaking from God.
Performing my rituals, being closer to nature, and helping people through tarot made me realize I could speak to God from anywhere - minus having to endure the church’s views on women, the LGBT community, and others!
Witchcraft empowered me to see that the power to create the reality that we want doesn’t just reside in God or the spirits (or whatever you believe is out there), it’s also inside us.
Once I realized this, it set me free from the conformity and guilt-based systems of the church. I no longer had to endure a priest making me feel like I should be subservient because of my gender, or that I should be ashamed for being a strong, ambitious woman.
And the best part was learning the delicious, empowering secret that I didn’t have to wait for Sunday to experience a holy day! Through my rituals, I could make every day sacred. Every day could be a day of work dedicated to serving others - and also a day of rest and reflection to renew myself.
Portrait by Reina. She is on Instagram as @reinaxregina.
Header photo by Giulia Bertelli on Unsplash