You’re Everything A Big Bad Wolf Could Want

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Photos by Tifani Truelove

Hey guys! I hope you’re all having a fantastic summer. It sure has been a crazy year for me thus far. Summer especially. It’s the season where travel is expected from everyone. And I mean everyone. Part of the American Dream is to get locked into the 9-5 work system but take off time in the summer and go drive around the country or fly to a random place. I guess that’s a pretty good perk, eh? The idea of travelling is very trendy right now. It’s very chic to post “on the road” pictures on social media and talk about what a bohemian gypsy soul free spirit you are, blah blah blah. But once you finally get your butt out on the road and actually experience travel and what it means experience that, your life has the ability to change quite rapidly.

I’ve done a fair amount of travelling this year; two trips to the West Coast and a road trip from NYC to Texas. (Those of you who keep up with me on Instagram @cultofhope will follow.) When you travel, especially on the road, you are forced to consolidate yourself and your life. Traveling is to life what a protein bar is to a fully stocked kitchen. Both can be beneficial and nutritious, however one is expansive and one is concise. You learn a lot about who you are. You learn what things are necessary and important to you. You also learn what people are important to you and if you are important to them. So if you feel like you’ve got a lot of figuring out to do in life, it might not be such a bad idea to drag your butt out of your hometown and hit the road. Forcing yourself to exist outside of your comfort zone will help you to reassess your life and goals from a clearer and almost alien perspective.

So, some things I learned (in no particular order):

1. I like to wear pants.

A lot. Pants are a helluva lot more practical than skirts and dresses. As lovely and feminine as trailing gowns can be, they can also be a royal pain in the ass when it comes to actually doing practical activities. (Like stepping out of a vehicle, for example.) There are lots of amazing types of pants out there in this world: leather, skinny, flare, paisley print, metallic, glitter, colored denim, etc. As one of my friends commented, pants are badass. And being a badass never hurts now, does it?

2. I need to learn how to play the guitar.

Like a boss. Being around people who play guitar has helped me realize that I want to learn how to play it myself. The way that you pour your deepest feelings from your heart into singing can also be done by pouring that same energy into a physical instrument. When the energy from your body flows into another object, that object becomes a part of you. A guitar is an extension of yourself that can play the most riveting and sexy amazing music.

3. I’m more like a dude than I realized.

Don’t get me wrong, being a woman is great. But my personality definitely has a lot of qualities that are most commonly found within the male species. At this point in my life, I’m pretty straightforward about most things. Beating around bushes is a waste of time. I think it’s because I’ve taken shit from people before, I’m just kind of fed up with catering to stupidity and don’t have the time to walk around eggshells about anything. Not wanting to deal with sensitivity also results in doing and suggesting to do very random things. “I don’t have time to let this idea naturally transition into the conversation. I want to do this NOW….hey let’s do this thing!”

4. I’m grateful for evil.

I get it, everyone has problems. And some of my past problems/problems I’m dealing with have been very difficult. I’ve chosen to live an unconventional fringe life on the edge of society and well, it has its perks and its drawbacks. Sometimes it can very, VERY easy to wallow in the drawbacks in a mire of self-pity and laziness. But I can’t play victim at the hand of my own choices. Evil and darkness is what makes you stronger and deeper and what fuels creative inspiration. I don’t feel like being creative when I’m happy and enjoying life. When I’m happy and enjoying life, I want to do just that. It’s in those moments of utter despondency (or reflections of past utter despondency) that make me make good music. The ultimate goal is to live a happy and enjoyable life with the ability to tap into those times of past evil.

xoxo

Lady Evil

(She’s a magickal, mystical woman.)

Blue Stars, Black Moon

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Photos by Blairtown Blues.

Hi everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Long story short, I realized I was trying to fix internal problems by changing external things about my life, such as where I was living. Long story short, I thought it would be “easier” to bounce New York and seek my dreams out in a different city than actually buckle down where I was and build my dreams right here. So yeah, glad I realized that before I completely transplanted my life. My skin is white as snow, my lips are (sometimes) red as blood, and my hair is black as ebony. Ain’t got those physical traits for nothin’. Snow White has become immune to the ploys of the witch and now delights in taking huge bites out of the Poisoned Apple. Yum, yum, yum!

I’m taking a two-week sabbat and traveling around the U.S.A. with my friends’ band Scarlet Sails. Nothing like tagging along with a bunch of musicians and getting a dose of old fashioned road trip experience to inspire the creative soul. Going to be bringing my songbook, taking lots of pictures, and documenting my adventures across the country. I’m excited to be able share my experiences with you guys.

A few weeks ago, I decided to post an ad on Craiglist looking for musicians with whom to collaborate. Well the Internet Gods decided to grant me a favor and no serial killers or ax murders came my way. After sifting through a few weirdos and flakes, I ended up connecting with a wonderful guitarist who’s on the same page of occult gothic rock n’ roll. We’re looking forward to making headway together next month and introducing new projects!

I’ve got to run and take care of some last-minute errands and packing before joining the gypsy caravan of musician friends tomorrow. Adios!

~Hope Adela

Orchid Seduction

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Photos by Tifani Truelove

Orchids are sexy. Purple is sexy. The supple feel and shape of an orchid combined with a rich amethyst hue entices and intoxicates the senses. Pink is a very light and feminine color and is the child of red and white. Red symbolizes sexuality and passion where white symbolizes purity and light. On the other hand, purple is the result of combining red and blue. The blue adds a touch of serenity which weirdly contrasts with the fiery lust of red. It’s like mixing water and fire together and getting a some weird potion. I think this is why purple is often associated with mystique and magick, particularly the Third Eye of the chakra. Being enlightened is about being balanced. Being balanced is about accepting who you are and finding ways to combat the crazy with calm.

It can be easy to bullshit yourself and pretend that you are “normal” and try to mentally put all your craziness or weirdness on the back burner. Well guess what. Even back burners can simmer and get overheated. And if you’re not paying attention to something on the back burner, it will burst into flames and explode and you won’t even be prepared for that. So take your craziness off the back burner and put it on the front burner instead. Turn up dat heat. If the flames drift too high, you can turn the heat back down. But your mind will be concentrated on what’s before you.

I am a nut. A cracked nut. Or maybe an uncracked nut when I’m being stubborn. But it feels pretty good to be OK with that. A big part of my life has been pretending to fit into some mold of successful stability because I wanted the approval of people who didn’t approve of me. But why would I want to waste my precious days simply trying to appease the opinions of other human beings who didn’t like who I was in the first place?

The quickest way to get ahead in life is to just be you without being so damn concerned about what other people think. Everyone wishes they could be the most true version of themselves, but very few will actually muster the courage to follow through and be that person. That’s why people who are themselves stand out so dramatically. So go: stand out.

~Hope Adela

Smoke and Mirrors

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Photos by Tifani Truelove

So much of life is about smoke and mirrors. None of us really know what’s out there, and we go about constructing our own existences based on “facts” that may or may not be true. The universe is unknown. And if the universe is unknown, then what is truth? Is truth something we have the right to define, a yardstick we have the ability to craft by which to measure our lives? In the Bible, God says “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” (Jeremiah 31:33) The meaning behind this sentence demonstrates a certain frame of mind I choose to implement when trying to figure out what the heck life is about.

Is this Bible verse so very different from the popular New Age phrase “follow your heart?” If God/the Universe/whatever is out there has ingrained some sort of sacred truth and knowledge into the deepest core of our being, then yeah, follow your damn heart already. We already know what life is about. Just put away your phone/computer for a second and focus. You know what truth is and when you know what truth is, that helps you to understand the purpose of life. IF there is any purpose at all. There may be no purpose to life. Either way, the people and things and passions and callings that are speaking to you the strongest (even if it’s from a place way deep down inside)…..these are what you need to bring up from the surface of your subconscious and into your face-to-face reality.

My subconscious is bubbling with fantasy. What I loved most as a little girl was dressing up and pretending to be a princess. I loved reading faerie tales, watching Disney princess movies, hosting fantasy parties with my sisters and best friend, and going on adventures in the backyard and under the dining room table. Well, guess what, I’m grown up now. Obviously. Childhood is about cultivating who you are; adulthood is about sharing that person with the rest of the world. There are many ways to share who you are. I’ve always shared through words. Weird clothes and mystical image makes lovely wrapping paper, but it’s what’s inside the package that counts. Writing, speaking, and singing are all ways to send the gift of words out into the world. And the things that you send out with the strongest and purest intention will come back to kiss you on the mouth in return.

~Hope Adela

A Night of Sacred Unluck

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Friday the 13th is supposed to be an unlucky day. Although I believe in magick, I don’t particularly have much faith in traditional Western superstitions. Hilariously, us witches have been persecuted and disparaged because with work with elements of nature. “Ohh look, there’s that silly/evil witch playing around with her crystals and dried herbs. Should we laugh at her or burn her at the stake? Hmmm. Decisions, decisions!” (Fear and mockery are a frequently combined force because people feel less threatened by something when they can make fun of it.) Although it’s perfectly ridiculous and diabolic to work with healing herbs and crystals, there’s sound validity in freaking out about a random day of the month that falls on a particular day of the week.

Historically, the bad reputation of Friday the 13th is linked to Christian mythology. Jesus held the Last Supper on the eve of Good Friday, the day of His death and Crucifixion. All twelve apostles were present at the Last Supper, plus Jesus, which totals thirteen people. After the Last Supper, Judas famously betrayed Jesus with a kiss and handed Him over to the Romans for execution. Due to the combination of the thirteen men at the Last Supper and the day of the week that this famous meal supposedly happened, “Friday” and “thirteen” were thrown together to become some fabled myth of dread in Christian superstition. 

Because of the constant conflict between paganism and Christianity, any day that’s thought “unholy” by the Church is a time of celebration and blessing in the alternative spiritual community. During my visit to the golden coast of California earlier this month, Friday the 13th rolled around. Although it was unexpected and a bit random, I knew this day would be the perfect time to conduct a ritual and set new intentions. Armed with a ritual candle from Spellbound Sky and a bundle of cleansing sage, I set out to make the most of this tongue-in-cheek holiday. The candle I chose is emerald green for prosperity and abundance. As an Earth Sign Capricorn, I’m a very grounded individual. My head may be in the clouds (hello, Pieces Moon!), but my feet are soundly planted on practical and concrete foundations. Fulfilling my creative dreams is a central focus in my life right now, but sometimes it’s hard to prioritize these things due to a need for material security and stabilization. This candle helps to attract practical needs as well as the desires of the heart. The green wax is a color of the earth and represents the heart chakra. The infusions of tiny aventurine crystals enhance good luck and nourishment of the heart, and the sparkling chunks of pyrite help with motivation and success.

Intentions are powerful and I can already see blessings related to this ritual unfolding in my life. I feel at the center of a great bubble of change, in the eye of a hurricane or at the depths of a whirlpool. Maybe inside a volcano. Volcanos are nice and dramatic. Whichever the symbolic element comparison, the final result is one of dramatic magnitude. Hurricanes, whirpools, and volcanos are volatile and dangerous and make an impact. Natural disasters force people out of their comfort zone and the desecration of their force creates a new ground for fresh life to prosper and grow.

 

~Hope Adela

Regina Gloriana

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Photos by Roxana Puiu.

I’d rather be a queen than a princess. Princesses make lousy decisions and trip around in forests and get into time-wasting confrontations with witches, dragons, werewolves, etc. They get themselves into awkward or dangerous situations and then have to get themselves out of these scenarios, usually with the help of a Handsome Prince. Queens get to sit on thrones and be regal and powerful and tell people what to do. Maybe these faerie tale stereotypes are specifically inspired by Once Upon a Time (which is one of my favorite TV shows.) Look at Regina—she’s dark and mystical and wields magick in both her evil and reformed phases. The princesses on that show (mainly thinking of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty) have these whiny annoying personalities and admittedly display signs of bravery and mental strength, but these qualities are shrouded by their pathetic princess exterior.

I’m not a man-hating liberated feminazi by any means. But I’d rather celebrate my womanliness as a powerful witchy sexy goddess rather than a sweet little ditzy primrose. Although this image may be somewhat intimidating to many men, a man who’s confident in himself and his abilities will only be more strongly attracted to a woman who exudes an air of regal magick.

Sometimes there are days when I like to frolic about in a floral frock and tiara. Literally. But most days, I’d rather look like this. If this outfit were not so impractical, I would wear something like this every day. But corsets are stifling and capes get caught in car doors, so yeah these outfits are better suited for photo shoots and gothic night clubs. But deep down inside, I’m always imagining myself garbed in such raiment, a cape flowing from my shoulders and legs clad in shiny, shiny boots of leather.

I think it’s extremely important to pay homage to your alter ego every single day. Your alter ego is the most intense and colorful and saturated version of yourself. It’s not even actually an alter ego, it’s your true self. She may be weird and outlandish, but she is your truest form of personal self. Cherish her and love her and nurture her and she will grow. This can be as simple as mentally picturing yourself as this wonderful person in your mind’s eye, or you can take this to a physical form and perform a daily ritual where you momentarily become this person. It’s like you’ve got the ability to be a magickal superhero but you can’t always unveil this side of yourself to everyone out their, for fear of them flipping out and losing their minds. Now if you’re totally cool with the general public flipping out, then go ahead and physically dress and act like your truest and deepest self. But sometimes it takes baby steps to make the big picture vision a reality plus going to the grocery store in a cape and corset may not be the most practical thing in the world.

God save the queen!

                         ~Hope Adela

Rose Quartz Pink Moon

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Photos by Tifani Truelove.

Sometimes it’s easier to gaze at a beautiful painting rather than creating it yourself. Life becomes more comfortable when we take on the role of a backseat passenger. There’s a lot more risk involved with being a driver, but far more excitement and power. Consuming life (looking at art, savoring food, listening to music) can only go so far without feeling guilty pangs of unfulfilled creativity. And that’s so depressing! Of course it’s wonderful to enjoy the amazing creations that other people have made and to take pleasure in that, but life is about an even exchange, not being a parasite. Contribute. Contribute something to the world and you’ll be able to reap those benefits and appreciate the fruits of the labor that others have put forth.

You can do this with something specific, or you can do this with everything. You can focus on one key aspiration that you’d like to fulfill and make it happen. Or you can focus on your entire life and the vision that you want to achieve and the way that you want your life to be and make that happen. If you had a magick wand, how would you choose to use it? What would you do to change your life? Think of those things and then make them happen. The funny thing that most people don’t realize about magick is that it doesn’t take the form of an actual wand. Or Faerie dust. Or random poofs of purple smoke. Magick is very, very, VERY simple. It’s about using the powers of your mind to make wonderful things happen. I’m sure we’ve all heard the motivational saying “you can do anything!” or “anything is possible!” I think motivational sayings are usually pretty cheesy and overplayed. But they are true. If you want something badly enough, you’ll find a way to make it happen. Transitioning the power of the mind to the power of physical life existence is magick. That’s it! Yay.

Settling is the opposite of magick. I’ve found myself settling on a lot of things in life: relationships, friendships, living situations, jobs, career aspirations. Pretty much everything in my life has been “settled” at one point or another. Some things I’ve learned to not settle for and I have better things now because of that. But other things I’m too scared to do or to pursue. It’s so ridiculous! I mean we’re all going to die anyway and rot in the grave so who cares if we at least take the effort to do what we want and be who we want?

Time to make some changes. I was originally going to continue writing, but I have too many things to do right now. Getting rather giddy with excitement and anticipation.

EDIT:

After realizing that this is the week of the Full Pink Moon, I decided to come back and elaborate on this post and pay homage to all things pink. In the back of my mind I knew this lunar occurrence was coming up, but apparently this knowledge was chilling in the recessive part of my brain since I completely forgot to talk about it. Last night, I was reading some articles regarding the significance of the Pink Moon and thought these concepts perfectly correlated with what I’ve been experiencing. This post is themed in pink, an ode to rose quartz. Color is such a uniting factor, as rose quartz and the Pink Moon have some very closely knit similarities.

Rose quartz is a softly colored quartz that looks like pink marble. It’s an opaque stone, and although I’ve seen it cut into intricate faceted crystals, it always retains a calm and impenetrable surface.  This gemstone represents love.

A frequent misconception is that rose quartz is meant for sex spells and romance, but its main focus relates to self-love. In a day and age where the words “self-love” are thrown around as sensible advice, it can be easy to roll your eyes and snort and think “self-obsessed” instead. But self-love is actually quite a selfless act. Have you ever been in a horrible relationship with a terrible person who treated you like shit because they secretly felt like shit about themselves? Have you ever had to deal with a jealous friend who downgraded your successes and dreams? If you don’t love yourself, you certainly can’t hold any positivity towards the people you claim to care about. Rose quartz helps us to cast aside the need for outside love and focus on appreciating our own good qualities and recognizing the own light and radiance within ourselves. (Basically, the stone of self-TLC.)

Friendship is also another important aspect of rose quartz, especially when given as a gift. When you give a rose quartz, you’re giving the hope of self-love and joy to that other person and those wishes in and of themselves are a huge demonstration of human care and friendship. Stones that are given hold a different kind of value than stones that are bought for oneself. Given that rose quartz symbolizes love, it’s magick doubly manifests when you gift or receive it from a place of love. My long-term massage therapist gave me a little tumbled rose quartz and I’ve kept it in the hidden zipper compartment in my purse to remind me of the powers of human care and friendship.

Aside from residing in the same color family, the Pink Moon bears many interchangeable qualities to that of rose quartz. This Full Moon isn’t literally pink, but was dubbed this title due to the blossoming of bright pink creeping phlox at this time of year. Ironically, I was taking a stroll with my friend earlier this week and started ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the gorgeous pinkish purple creeping phlox in someone’s garden. I loved these flowers as a child, with their brilliant colors and strange melding of warm pink and cool purple. I’m glad that they’re getting proper homage with a lunar namesake. The Pink Moon is also sometimes called the Egg Moon, which represents new life. Spring holds a sacred space for all things light and fresh and new. Pink is the color of love and making love results in fertility and birth. The time of the Pink Moon is a time to focus on love, whether it’s loving yourself or loving someone else. If you’re loving yourself, than you’re preparing yourself to be a better component of a friendship or romantic relationship with another person. The love and joy for yourself and within yourself should well up like a fountain and spill out into the lives of the people you care about the most. (If you’d like to read more about the Pink Moon, then check out this beautifully written article. I want to dwell in The Tea House of the Full Pink Moon.)

Use the time of the Pink Moon wisely. Wait until the night of the Full Moon. Sit down and make a list of all the things that you like about yourself and a separate list of the things that you dislike about yourself. Why are these things on those lists? Is there anything you can do to make the second list empty? It may be just a change of thought process or it could be a drastic life decision. Light a pink candle and stare into the flame, focusing on all the thinks you love about yourself. Hold a rose quartz in your left hand and think about absorbing the cozy and fuzzy warm energy from this crystal. In your right hand, take the list of things you don’t like about yourself and slowly burn it over the candle, releasing any previous displeasure for yourself into oblivion. You love yourself so much that the last thing you’d ever do would be to think or do things that downgraded your own joy. That list of things does not exist any more.

For precisely these purposes, I’m creating crystal spell kits to help with manifesting these properties. A lot of people ask me about the meanings and uses of different crystals and how to work with them. I thought it would be helpful to offer a little bundle of readily-available magick to anyone who needs it. These crystal spell kits will be available at my next market this weekend and I’ll be launching them online later on this week. Keep a look out on my Instagram for all the latest details!

*hugs*

~Hope Adela

Hope Springs Eternal

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Photo credit, @reeba_ekka

Hello, everyone! I hope that this lovely spring-tide season is treating you all tremendously well. This time of year always feel so light with rejuvenation and rebirth. It’s like the Renaissance of nature. And as humans, our relationship with nature affects the relationship we have to our lives and our actions.

For me personally, I feel like I’ve been opening up and blossoming like a flower. So many random blessings have occurred! Blessings on a small scale, blessings on a larger scale, but the biggest blessing of all has happened right here in the way my little noggin thinks. As I’ve grown up from a child into an adult, direction is something that I’ve struggled with. I had a lot of direction as a youngin’ but it changed through adolescence. Which is perfectly fine! But I think a lot of me has been clinging onto past aspirations and dreams and feeling that those things are what I “must” be doing with my life, instead of accepting the change within my own personality and the growth and evolution therein. I’m learning to let go of that way of thinking in favor of a new and fresh perspective of hope and opportunity and different experiences. And the rewards have been so beneficial. I can’t wait to see how my life will change once this method of philosophy has been applied to the biggest and most dramatic areas of potential changes. The future is always bright, if we believe it to be so.

Many hugs and love!

~Hope Adela

The Firebird

Photos by Tifani Truelove.

The legend of the Firebird is a Russian faerie tale about a young man who discovers a dazzling golden bird in a sacred garden. The bird transforms into a lady of fiery splendor and majesty. My little sister was so struck by this tale that she asked my mother to make her a Firebird costume for Halloween one year. (And yes, the costume was made!)

The concept of the Firebird reminds me of the song “Fire Woman” by The Cult. Quite obviously, The Cult is one of my favorite musical groups. “Fire Woman” describes a woman who’s made a stunning impression upon the heart of the singer, and she’s driven him to insane madness and lust. Ha. *evil laugh*

When I purchased this amazing vintage sequined cape, I couldn’t help but think of this magickal phoenix-like bird maiden and the rock n’ roll muse sought by Ian Astbury. I was feeling major Bollywood vibes and decided to incorporate a bindi along with some more hardcore pants. Red always does the trick of making me feel fabulous.

Which is how I’ve been feeling as of late. Much to my own surprise, I decided to quit classes at FIT. I love costume and I love fashion, but working in costume and fashion is not how I would like to spend the rest of my life. I’ve reached the point where I refuse to introduce new things into my routine unless I love doing them and want them to become a part of my future path. And right now, those things are music, blogging, and the occult.

I’ve been composing/writing/singing/recording songs over the past few years, and more intensely within recent weeks. I just started uploading them to my SoundCloud account this evening.  The more songs I write, the more I develop a deeper appreciation for the art and creativity that goes into making music. They’re other creative projects where I’ve got the same feeling: cooking, drawing, putting together an outfit. It’s this weird process of using that little part of your mind that understands the language of beauty and art in a scientific manner. The love of music has always been within me, but it’s shining brighter now that this scientific understanding has been reached. Writing a song is like making a wonderful food or splendidly decorating a room, but it means more to me than that. It’s very personal and very spiritual and sound can last forever. I’m on the hunt to collaborate with like-minded musicians in the New York City area. If you play guitar, bass, or drums, and have a desire to create rock n’ roll with a gothic metal edge, please let me know!

The occult is becoming a more profound part of my world. There was a time when my favorite shops to visit were vintage stores and thrift shops, but now I seem to get more excited over New Age stores and witch shops. The excitement and giddiness washes over me the minute I walk through the door of such an establishment. I think it’s because you walk away from this type of shopping experience with so much more than a cool material object. The objects you purchase aren’t made only to look pretty, they’re designed to help with your spiritual health and personal strength. Incense, sage, books, statues, jewelry, crystals, and tarot cards: though art my loves! My favorite of these are crystals and tarot cards.

We’ll get into Tarot cards first. I hope my parents aren’t reading this post. They would flip their lids because they think Tarot cards are a means to conjure the Devil. Actually, I don’t think my parents would read this post. They are technologically challenged. But, I have several tattle-tail relatives that like to stalk my online presence and report back to my immediate family. I’m not sure why I care about this, since I’m a full-fledged adult and have been self-supportive for the past 5 years.

…moving on.

My perception of the Tarot deck used to be pretty inaccurate. I though it was some gypsy fortuneteller “let me read your future” mumbo jumbo. It seemed intriguing, but I wasn’t able to take the practice seriously. My friend and I got our cards read together for the first time a few years back by this wizened elderly lady who had a reading sign in the front window of her house. We were so nervous and stoked to engaged in such a forbidden thing. It was a rather unmemorable reading and seemed more like psychological advice than mysticism.

Fast forward a few years, and a few more readings, and I began to develop a more inquisitive interest in the Tarot. I bought my first deck in August 2014 (the Universal Fantasy Tarot) and started doing readings on myself and friends. Tarot is all about intuition and individual practice, but I wanted to get a little bit of in-person formal training to improve my skill. This past Sunday, I started a three-week class on the Tarot at Catland in Brooklyn. (I’m actually attending with the same friend with whom I popped my Tarot cherry.) Even though it’s only just started, this class has already given me a great deal of affirmation and clarity concerning the Tarot. A successful Tarot reader is someone who possesses a good understanding of their deck and an ability to focus and channel their own intuition over their own reason.

Knowledge and intuition are also two of the most important qualities when it comes to crystal magick. Some people call it crystal healing, crystal work, crystal energy—I like to call it crystal magick because I love the word “magick.” It basically means the same stuff as those other words but connotes a slightly mystical vibe. I’ve been collecting rocks and minerals since I was uhhh, about five? My mom had taken my sister and me on a homeschooling field trip to a local jeweler’s shop. At the end of our tour, we were each allowed to pick a little gemstone from a bin of loose materials. I chose a polished rusty red jasper and my little sister chose a smokey agate. There was a big annual gem show at the Zembo Shrine in Harrisburg, and my mom would take us there for a field trip every year. Being homeschooled rocks, no pun intended. She’d let us each choose a handful of little stones to add to our individual collections. Over the years, we’d buy rocks in our various field trip adventures, particularly when we drove up and down the East Coast while my dad was hiking the Appalachian Trail. Of course, this interest was only related to a love of natural minerals and geological interest. At the time, I was totally ignorant of the spiritual properties of crystals—I liked pretty rocks.

A couple years ago, one of my friends exposed me to the concepts of crystals magick. She herself had recently started delving into the spiritual and occult sphere. I admired my friend tremendously (and still do) and was inspired by her newfound faith and serenity. So I started buying rocks again. But this time, I payed attention to their attributes instead of just their appearance.

Fast-forward to this past year when I started selling crystals. Running an online vintage business had become rather boring and I wanted to deal with a product that was smaller and easier to set up at markets. So I figured, why not crystals? They’re beautiful and they can help people. Beauty + love = yay! I started off vending these magickal treasures at Catland’s monthly Full Moon Markets, and then started having them directly in the shop on consignment, after which they practically all sold out. I can’t wait to restock these sparkling rock babies and continue my vending at Catland. Some other ideas about moving forward with crystals have recently popped into my head. My lips are sealed for the moment, but I’ve got big plans and some wonderful collaborations in the very near future.

xoxoxo

~Hope Adela

Made on the Moon

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I’m sitting down to write this post, and all I can think about is the copious amount of blood dripping from my right ring finger onto the keyboard. Of course, there is the magickal invention known to humankind as the band-aid, but I fear that I have no desire to rise from my red velvet couch at this moment. Eloquence becomes her, huh? Yep, I’m just going to sit here and talk about my random hangnails to the world. These hangnails are due to dehydration, and my dehydration is due to an extremely busy lifestyle. When you’re running around New York City having 14-hour days, it’s hard to remember to drink water. My Fit Bit says that I walked over 32 miles in the past seven days. Hooray!

So anyway. Some of you probably know me from Instagram (@cultofhope) and some of you probably know me from “real life” so hello to anyone who is taking their time to read this post. I love blogging on Instagram because of the rich visuals and fast-paced networking, but I wanted to start something here that’s a bit more personal and informative as the creative elements of my life start to bloom.

The past few months have been intensely packed with so many different and wonderful things. Do you ever start a new year and just have this strange gut feeling that it’s going to be a year of positive change? I’ve had years like that before and they’ve been amazingly progressive. This is one of those years. Aside from agriculture, so much opportunity abounds in New York City. It’s a huge treat to live in a place with so much splendor and so much to offer. The first year I lived here, I was a bit intimidated and went into survival mode. New York City is like an entirely different planet compared to the rest of the world. It’s hard to understand unless you’ve lived here. I’ve passed my twelve month badge of honor and have been making up for lost time, perhaps a bit too intensely.

One of the most effective ways to live a happy and creative life is to simply do what you love, simply for the sake of doing it. I’ve been incorporating that philosophy into my life at every opportunity and it seems to be directly manifesting in three different ways.

The most obvious of these manifestations is that of fashion. Last month, I enrolled at the Fashion Institute of Technology. My concentration is costume design. Vintage clothing and historic costume have always been one of my greatest areas of interest. The modern fashion industry isn’t a good fit for me, but among the folds of antiquated fabrics are untold stories of romance and glamour. Clothing is something that physically touches our body and vintage clothing carries with it the stories and energy of the past. Designing costumes uses the analytic part of the mind that tells stories. It’s not just about coming up with an inspirational back story and producing a line of trend-worthy garments, it’s about producing a vision and using clothing to tell the actual plot of a play or a film. It’s a fascinating process and my eyes have been opened and my knowledge has tremendously expanded in just these first few months of classes.

A more all-encompassing manifestation is one of spiritual affirmation. I was raised Christian but never converted and instead reverted to an apathetic state of agnosticism during my childhood and teens. Throughout my whole life, I was always drawn to concepts of mysticism and fantasy, but I perceived these as mere hobbies and interests. As an adult, I’ve been able to meet people who were practicing pagans, but I always felt like my attitude towards life was too cynical and “realistic” to fit comfortably into that category. A lot of people have asked me if I’m a witch, and I’m just like “uuuuuhhh.” Like I want to say “yes” because it would be awesome to be such a figure of feminine power and mystery, but I’m not exactly sure if that would be a lie or not. Thankfully, the right books and learning tools have fallen into my hands. The more I read about this ancient magick, the more I realized that all occultism is derived from one root: nature. Call it witchcraft, spirituality, paganism, occultism, shamanism, or whatever you wish—it’s basically the same thing. It’s just different people’s ways of interpreting the power and significance of nature. As human beings, we ourselves are nature, so “nature” goes beyond sticks and stones and flowers and mountains and includes our own minds and souls and energy. It’s so simple. Once you realize that “magick” is just the ability to work with nature, then the concept of being a witch seems a lot less intimidating and historical. Working with nature can be as physical as blending herbs to form a soothing tea or as non-physical as concentrating your mental energy into making a wish come true. It’s been very refreshing to realize these things and much of my spare time is being spent in learning about the different histories and practices of occultism.

The final and most dramatic manifestation in my life that ties everything together is music. I’ve been wrestling with pursing this over the past couple of years and it may seem silly, but announcing this pursuit to the world is a pretty big deal for me. I’ve been singing all my life and started writing songs when I was fifteen, but always thought that fashion was my calling in life. Fashion is something that I love, but it’s not my purpose even though it may seem that way on the surface. There are stories that need to be told and the only way to tell them is through words and song. So many things are inside of me right now and I need to get them out and express them but in a very specific type of format. I don’t know how to explain it. You can write about things, but you tell a different story when those things are woven into a song instead of documented in a book. Music is magick. The person you decided to be onstage is the vessel that you create for your own knowledge and words and voice to be expressed to the world. It’s such a crazy and delightful concept and I know from within my very heart of hearts that this is something I am meant to do. I suppose I’ve just been in denial because this is something relatively new to me and my entire life my friends and family have been pounding into my head that my calling is fashion. But this is a second calling and it’s here to stay. I can’t wait to keep you all posted about this exciting new part of my life.

I should really sign off now and go take care of this abominable hangnail. The right side of my keyboard is smeared with traces of blood. I am not joking or being sarcastic here.

~Hope Adela

Photos by Tifani Truelove.