The final, glorious exhales of sultry Summer wind rustle your hair, as you savor the juice of an overripe peach that caresses your lips – possibly for the last time? September opens with the familiar melancholy of the changing seasons – a wistful sigh, a longing backwards glance, and a moment of stillness which falls to eventual surrender. Yes, Summer is nearly gone, and this one wasn’t quite right. But, mes chèris, we can take the simplest, most divine of her gifts with us, yes? Those breezes, the brightness, the unequalled sweetness…all that voluptuous abundance is still here. It always is! Something so absurdly simple to remember is this: All things pass. All things. These words, of course, have always referred the ever-renewing cycle of life, but it also reminds us that dark times pass too. They do. (Just ask Gandalf.) When you are deep in the thick of it, it seems like endless mire – and by no means am I attempting to downplay this current madness – but that is precisely when we need to call on our inner strength! This is why rituals of love, peace, power, and beauty are so incredibly important. Whether you are falling prey to the heaviness of world events (how could you not?) or the everyday stresses that appear even in merry times, Smart Witches take care of themselves. This doesn’t mean we never falter. Of course we do. But we get back up. So, as we navigate this Orc invasion every single day, every hour, and have no idea when it will cease, we do what we need to stay fortified. Some days that’s a much bigger undertaking than others, so go easy on yourself. Remember, kitten steps.

As we linger on the last of Summer, we are welcomed into this month’s harvest with a Full Harvest Moon on the September 2nd (1:22am EST) in reflective Pisces. After the playful, outgoing reign of the Lion last month, cosmic wisdom now provides us with the balance of introspection. It is a time right now for looking inward, using our psychic senses, and understanding what is needed to move forward despite challenges. The Sun in Virgo asks that we tend to the details, the everyday rhythms and scheduling that will ensure our dreams are made real, so use the power of this Moon to illuminate creative plans, and call upon the Sun to guide you in their manifestation. You see, there is a spiritual axis formed here, one that allows us to unhook momentarily from the constant barrage of world madness to reconnect with our own power: the Fish asks that we tap into our dreams, visions, and artistry, while the Virgin reminds to stay practical and grounded, with a major emphasis on getting back on track where our health is concerned. If I had a gold coin for every person who has told me about how their wellness has fallen of the face of the earth during recent crises, I would be calling in Smaug to guard it all. It is so understandable. Insomnia, weight gain (or loss,) constant anxiety, exercise going by the wayside, drinking too much…everyone has some version. If you haven’t felt able to reign in the self-sabotage, the cosmos come to your emotional rescue right now to help you pull yourself up again.

VIRGO POWER CARD: The Hermit Your goals are reached through personal reflection. Wisdom gained in solitude is to be shared. Dismiss distractions and focus on carrying out your plans. Cards from the Lo Scarabeo Astrological Oracle deck and the Crowley Thoth deck.

For this Moon I have conjured a beguiling potion I am pleased to share with you: A silky beauty oil for anointing your face, massaging into your body, dabbing as a parfum scent, and as a ritual oil. It conjures the energies of both Pisces and Virgo to help you crystalize your plans, and put forth what is needed to give them form with the magick of love and beauty. Did I mention your skin will love it?

Dreams Awaken

Ritual Oil
Yields approximately 2 oz.
*Do not apply directly to broken or highly irritated skin. 

1.5 oz. grapeseed oil
12 drops anise essential oil
6 drops bay laurel essential oil
Seeds of one vanilla bean
6 drops rose attar

Early in the eve of the Full Moon, when she is also in Pisces, pour the grapeseed oil into a beautiful colored glass vessel. Be sure to use one that has a lid, cap, or cork. As you tap into Neptune’s dreaminess, feel yourself consciously detach from the physical world and elevate to a higher spirituality. Ask for the signs to appear, the ideas to come – and remember, they will most likely appear when you least expect it in the coming days, when you are doing mundane tasks. Surprise gifts in many forms can appear to help you, but you must be tuned in to recognize them. Add each oil to the potion, one at a time, while connecting with its individual vibration, and what it brings to the blend as a whole.  Give it a good clockwise swirl 13 times, cap it, then let it rest in the moonlight either outdoors or in a window. It will assist you in ritual that evening or the following, but can also work as its own spell.

Grapeseed Lunar ruled grapeseed is rich in vitamins A and C for supreme skin support. It moisturizes deeply, protects from damage and moisture loss, reduces fine lines, and improves elasticity.

 Anise & Bay Laurel This delightful duo entwines Piscean spirituality with solar vitality, giving a strong balance to the potion. Together, they heal damaged skin (including wrinkles!) cleanse deeply, and banish breakouts. Their combined scent can also help to lift the spirit when depression strikes.

Vanilla Ruled by water, passionate vanilla also promotes love, lifeforce, and beauty while soothing skin and bringing joy to the spirit.

Rose Beloved bringer of beauty and love, exquisite rose gifts potent skincare powers (which I’m always going on about) and an opening of psychic awareness. Her magick lives in this blend along with a strength that belies her delicate appearance.

Beauty Witch Secret: A few drops of Dreams Awaken in your bath will super-charge your psychic abilities before ritual, or on its own. Have a celestite or labradorite nearby, and anoint your bath candles with the potion to heighten the experience.

As the month progresses, the stardust swirls, and there is much happening, so let’s dive in, shall we? Adding to our quieter, more internal vibration right now is powerhouse Mars retrograding in Aries on September 9th. If you recall, Mars arrived home in the sign of the Ram on June 27th, signaling a shift into action after a dormant, draggy first half of the year. You may have felt, depending on where Mars (and fire in general) resides in your natal chart, an urge to jump back into activity and a desire to get something off the ground. And yet, there was this ever-present, frustrating restriction due to current circumstances. Mars holds court in Aries for the rest of this year, so that fire will remain, as most likely will the restrictions, so you have to get really creative about moving forward. However, with the action planet retrograding until November 13, the stars give us a prime opportunity to reassess these plans and decide how best to manifest them. You always want to use fire energy wisely, for obvious reasons, so take this time for making savvy choices. For instance, you may need to redo the budget you are working with, revamp your marketing plan, or – and I love this one – revive an older project that you previously shelved. Mmm? Could be very, very interesting.

Now, though this retrograde may make you feel slowed down in your progress, there are several cosmic forces coming to assist you. The first belongs to our beloved Jupiter, bearer of luck and expansion, moving direct on September 13th This brings the energy of good fortune that has felt missing for far too long. This is wonderful news! You will feel more encouraged now, and opportunities will open up, but I am going to shake you here – keep your senses sharp – you wouldn’t want to miss them whilst gluing yourself to your social media feed, or tuning out from complete inertia.

Next in the sky comes a grounded New Moon in Virgo on September 17th (7:00am EST,) but she goes void-of-course at 7:42am, so if you want to really tap into the earth energies of the Virgin, you’re going to have to focus quite early in the morning. The beauty of this New Moon is the ability to give a solid foundation to your plans, so I would strongly suggest dragging your sleepy head to your altar that morning. If you are actually going out to work, even a quick moment alone to set an intention would be more than worthwhile. The Silver Lady glides into Libra at 2:56pm EST, and stays there until Friday morning, so if partnership and contracts are on your agenda, work with this fresh lunar energy then also.

Later in the month, I only have one question for you, enchanted ones: Are you ready for Fall?  Yes, yes, yes! The reward for biding adieu the lusciousness of Summer is that we get to welcome Autumn with open arms, and isn’t she just everyone’s favorite? The Season of The Witch officially begins with the sabbat of Mabon, on the Autumnal Equinox of September 22nd. At Mabon we celebrate the second of the harvest festivals, and the one that usually reaps the most abundant treasure. I offer you a delightfully autumnal nibble that makes a divine dessert, and an equally sexy breakfast – though I confess to you, mes amours, that I am one of those rare and bizarre creatures that…doesn’t have a sweet tooth. I know, it’s weird. I say this so you know to adjust the sweetness to your liking, because for me, the apples here are more than enough. Feel free to add more dates to the buttery crust, and a drizzle of maple syrup all over if you desire it!

Tarte aux Rècoltes

Beauty Bite
Serves 6-8

1 cup hazelnut flour
1 cup almond flour
13 dates, pitted and chopped
Juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon bourbon vanilla, or seeds of one vanilla bean pod
½ teaspoon cardamom
¼” piece ginger root, peeled and finely chopped
1 red apple, shredded
1 Anjou pear, shredded
½ cup hazelnuts, crushed

In a food processor, combine both flours, dates, lemon, and spices. Pulse until the mixture is crumbly, but sticks together when you pinch it (if needed, add water, one tablespoon at a time, until the desired consistency is reached.) Press the “dough” into a tart pan or pie dish, making an even layer. Pop it in the refrigerator while you prepare the fruit. To do so, just use the largest openings on a cheese grater, keeping the skin on. Next, crush the hazelnuts into bite-sized pieces with a mortar and pestle – the Witches’ magickal tools! Top the tarte with the apples and pear, the sprinkle the hazelnuts on top. Garnish with sliced apples and a dusting of cinnamon.

As you concoct this joyous tarte, consider the harvest you have reaped this year. I know it’s been a very difficult ride, but can you see what has been grown? There is bounty within you, so let’s share it. This dish can be enjoyed well into the Fall, adding seasonal ingredients as you wish – heap on the apples, fire up the spices! Make one for a neighbor, family member, or friend. You are gifting love and beauty magick, good health, and raised energy – may your heart soar, your creativity be off the charts, and your skin glow like the stars! Vanilla once again graces our conjurings, alongside a soirée of sorcery in the form of lush Autumnal riches to create a bounty of sweetly spiced flavor and texture that keeps you full but not bloaty, energizes, and feeds your fetching beauty in the most delicious way!

 Almond Almonds are rich in vitamin E, that skin loving healer that repairs fine lines and bestows beautifying fats. They also bring forth abundance magick.

Hazelnut These solar orbs of crunchy Fall flavor are also rich in vitamin E, and allow us to tap into higher wisdom and creativity. Firmer, hydrated, glowing skin are yours!

Dates Long presented as offerings to both the gods and the departed, dates are tokens of strength and spirituality. They make excellent low glycemic natural sweeteners rich in vitamins and minerals, and support fresh skin with antioxidants.

Lemon Bright, zesty lemons gift us with the magick of love and happiness. Great purifiers, they effectively cleanse energy as well as our bodies. Lemon detoxifies, hydrates, helps digestion, and keeps your skin youthful with the added power of vitamin C.

 Nutmeg Fiery, Jupiter-ruled nutmeg is an excellent anti-inflammatory for skin that can have a reaction to the changing seasons. It is also highly valued for its ability to open up our psychic awareness. 

Cardamom Consuming cardamom helps with weight loss and maintenance, quells anxiety, fights disease, treat skin allergies and improves complexion with antioxidant super powers. It is a gift of Venus, infused with the magick of love, lust, beauty, and protection. 

Ginger A great power root, ginger brings good health, protection, and fire magick. As a warming spice, it revs circulation for beautiful skin, a strong body, and healthy hair.

Apple Abundant and classically autumnal, apples are Venus-ruled bringers of love, health, and peace. In ancient Egypt they were believed to bestow the gift of eternal youth upon the gods. These juicy ladies provide vitamins A, B, and C, UV protection, help rebuild cells, reduce wrinkles, and keep you vibrant from head to toe.

Pear The sensual, Venus-ruled pear is linked to long life and abundance. These juicy treats are filled with vitamin C and K, fiber, and copper for beauty inside and out.

Beauty Witch Secret: Grate a little extra apple and pear, finely this time, for a refreshing facial masque that clears away old skin cells, brightens, tones, and imparts a glorious glow.

As September comes to a close, we have one final cosmic treat: Saturn, taskmaster extraordinaire, turns direct on the 28th, with a clear signal to focus on the work at hand. After a lengthy retrograde, this can feel like the head school mistress cracking down and forcing you back to your responsibilities, perhaps making you think you’re lacking in some way. But fear not, because the beauty of Saturn is that through his diligence, we can see our long-term goals clearly – and this is a gift. Smart Witches use time, and the stars, wisely.

Be well, dearest ones. We have weathered quite a storm this year, and with the election looming here in the States, I expect another wave to swell. But we have our inner strength, our power, and our hearts. We have our magick. And we have each other.

Love and Stardust,

Xo Alise

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