As days grow darker, shapeshifting all too quickly into endless expanse of night, we are urged to turn our energies inward. With the infinite wisdom of nature, we’re guided to rest, recharge, and quietly begin to weave the threads that will become a most exquisite creation in spring. But do we always take her lead? Too often, we push through with an arrogance that suggests we’re immune to the cycles of change. But if we’re very still and listen to her whispers laced within the icy wind, awareness will come. By taking a tip from our northern friends and conjuring hygge and lagom (balance), you will find yourself in cahoots with the sensual spell that winter is willing to cast.
But how to stop spinning and actually begin to align with the season’s purpose? By indulging in a deliciously cozy ritual: a spa retreat in your own beautiful home. But this one is different—a witch’s retreat, a charmed respite that casts a rejuvenating spell upon none other than yourself. Thoughtfully planned and passionately executed as any spell should be, it transforms the ragged spirit to its rightful state as that of a powerful witch. It needn’t be elaborate, but it absolutely must be gorgeous. Take a nod from the Norse and make your space an inviting cave of creature comforts. Think lots of warm glow from candles and fairy lights, a soft throw, fuzzy indoor booties, a fragrant pot of magical tea, and a fabulous read. Get the picture? Good. Now let’s elevate it to goddess level. Call upon Freya, deity of love and beauty, to oversee your Spellbound Spa with her blessings—and her warrior’s protection. She wants you to be strong and powerful in your own light to represent her divinity out in the world. And she knows you need a magical recharge to get there. You can honor her with a simple altar bedecked in evergreen, roses, and amber. If you don’t have amber stone, why not try amber glass candle holders? Beads or fabric will do nicely also. Runes make a superb addition if you have a set. It is said that the sacred runes originally belonged to Freya, who is also the goddess of prophecy, long before Odin obtained them.
Begin by preparing your potions. These blends have been conjured with healing herbs, bright berries, and forest know-how to relax you into a state of pure, beautifying bliss. You will emerge renewed, but one thing must be noted: It is essential, my darlings, to put yourself directly to bed after your ritual. Beauty sleep is required for this magic to work.
First, conjure the face and hair masques, and set them aside. Then heat the water for your brew. While it is steeping, you can tend to any final preparations that make your spa space heavenly. (Don’t forget a fluffy towel to pat your feet dry with, and a fabulous pair of slippers.) When everything is ready, concoct your foot soak and lay it gently on the floor in front of where you will be lounging. All that’s left to do is to wrap yourself in a sumptuous robe, apply your potions, pour your brew, then sit back and relax! As your hair and face masques work their magic, your tootsies will enjoy their soothing soak. Allow this time for yourself to simply be. Breathe. Admire the beautiful altar you have made, the restful and enchanted atmosphere you’ve conjured. Sip your brew as you relax into the comfort of your potions. The creation comes in the spaces between the thoughts—the pauses. Allow ideas to come in as they wish. See which ones take on color and begin to grow. And before you even realize it, your next adventure will appear right in front of you. Ask Freya to show you how to make it real. And thank her.
Your enchanted cohorts in conjuring a winter wonderland include a few iconic beautifiers; several, perhaps, that you have never considered; and one queen. The lights woven throughout these potions are led by a five-pointed star:
rose Freya’s sacred flower is the ancient symbol of beauty and love, with a strength and potency that belies its delicate appearance. With the additional magic of luck, divination, healing, protection, and enhancing psychic abilities, rose leaves your skin rejuvenated with ageless beauty.
cloudberry This great Nordic beauty berry is rich in Omega fats that make skin fresh and dewy, with healing properties to keep moisture intact and wrinkles at bay. Norse berries have the strength to withstand fierce winters as well as intense solar power, making them ideal beauty ingredients, particularly for dry and maturing skin. And if you’re over the age of twenty-five, your skin is already in the process of maturing, dear maidens, so it’s never too soon to get started.
orange Fiery orange is a gift of the sun, so welcome during the long, cold spells of the season. It brings forth the energy of love and purification, uplifting in its scent and highly cleansing both internally and as a topical treatment. Orange keeps the blues away, eases aches and stiffness, improves digestion, and sends allergies packing!
cranberry Ruled by water and bearing protection energy, cranberries are loaded with hydration, high levels of antioxidants, and a perfect Omega fats ratio that allows for amazing absorption into the skin. Internally, these tart little treats provide lots of vitamin C and fiber, are excellent at detoxifying, and can keep infection at bay.
vanilla Lusty, Venusian vanilla boasts superior aphrodisiac powers and an intoxicating scent, but did you know that its tiny black seeds are also rich in copper? And copper, my loves, helps promote collagen and elastin production for youthful, gorgeous skin.
Beauty Witch Secret: Freya is also known for her sexual prowess, so when you invite her in, watch out: Your little at-home recharge will leave you not only rested but ready!
Brew of the Valkyries
Per serving 1 cup pure spring water
Peel of ½ orange
¼ cup fresh cranberries, crushed slightly ¼ cup rose petals
Seeds of ½ vanilla bean, scraped
Imagine what Freya and her shield maidens might consume after a long night’s work riding across the sky? Most likely a horn of ale, yes, but perhaps not always. I’d like to think she has a warming brew ready on the fire upon her return to her great hall, one filled with love and beauty magic. (She can spike it if she likes—she’s Freya, she can do as she pleases. And so can you. I won’t tell a soul.) Pour spring water into a cauldron and light a flame. Heat the water until it is very hot but not boiling, then turn the burner off. Drop in the orange peel, rose petals, cranberries, and vanilla, one at a time. Allow the brew to steep at least 10 minutes. Sweeten with coconut nectar or stevia if you like. Strain into a comely, heat-safe vessel and sip slowly. You are drinking in pure magic! Allow this brew to warm your body and comfort your spirit, drawing love ever near.
Conjures two treatments
¼ cup barley flour
½ cup rose water
½ teaspoon cloudberry seed oil
½ teaspoon cranberry seed oil
½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
In a small bowl, blend the rose water with the barley flour until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Add more rose water if needed. Add in the cloudberry and cranberry, vanilla bean, and mix well in a clockwise direction. Apply a thin layer to a clean face, massaging in a circular motion to gently exfoliate. Then add another layer of masque, and allow it to sit. Remove gently with a warm, wet face cloth, followed by a thorough rinse. Pat dry, apply toning mist, serum, and moisturizer as desired.
This masque is a pleasure! Creamy and sensually scented, it sloughs dead skin cells and then infuses skin with nutrients and moisture, leaving behind fresh, brightly glowing skin. Though rarely embraced as a beauty potion component, barley applied to the skin heals, firms, brightens, and promotes elasticity. It is also one of the oldest Nordic grains. Dense in nutrients and healing properties, barley is ruled by Venus and possesses her magic.
*Note: Barley contains gluten.
If you are sensitive topically, brown rice flour can be substituted—the magic becomes masculine and solar and quite fertile!
12 cups pure spring water
10 drops cedarwood essential oil
1 teaspoon St. John’s wort
8 drops fir essential oil
1 cup magnesium flakes
8 drops wild orange essential oil
10 drops pine essential oil
Begin by heating spring water in a large cauldron (also known as a pot) on the stove. When it is very warm (but not piping hot) add the magnesium flakes, St. John’s Wort, and then the essential oils, one at a time. Give the potion a stir clockwise to mingle the ingredients, pour into a large bowl, and decorate as you wish with petals and greens. You can strain the liquid if you prefer not to have the St. John’s Wort floating in your foot soak, but I love how it feels and communicates!
In addition to the delights of orange, magnesium soothes and heals both body and spirit. St. John’s Wort reduces swelling and inflammation, offering its potent magic of healing, protection, and strength, with a dash of happiness to make your day of rest even more joyous. Rounding out the cauldron is a trio of forest friends to cloak you in their warmth, as their deliciously woodsy scent wafts the air: Pine, cedar, and fir bear gifts of healing, protection, longevity, youthfulness, and vitality, along with a sumptuous splash of creative and money magic that will prove useful in manifesting the plans you conjure during this ritual. (And by design, this combination of fire and air promises action tempered by intellect.) As you soak your tired tootsies, your entire being will be soothed and refreshed, ready to move forward. This is one of the great benefits of tending the feet.
Per treatment ½ cup cashew, almond, or coconut yogurt, plain and unsweetened
1 tablespoon rose water
1 teaspoon cloudberry seed oil
Draw forth the regal beauty of Freya’s great cats and their sumptuously soft fur as you infuse your mane with moisture, shine, and body. Cashew, almond, or coconut yogurt makes a fabulously creamy plant-powered masque base that delivers the benefits of beauty fats. Apply to dry hair from roots to ends, coating well. Massage the potion into your scalp with gentle but firm fingers—it feels incredible! You are effectively releasing old energy and tension while increasing circulation to the scalp, which aids healthy hair growth. You are also activating your crown chakra, allowing access to higher states of consciousness. Use this technique to clear away any blockages and stimulate new ideas as you conjure future creations during this Spellbound Spa ritual.
When you are finished, wash lightly with a gentle shampoo, rinsing well. Apply a dab of leave-in conditioner to seal the hair cuticles and style as usual.