NEW HOME FOR TEA!

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Hey lovely people!

You know I’ve been pulling my offerings together into The Enchanted Academy (AKA TEA)? Well if you’ve seen my social media today then you’ll know that I’ve built a shiny shiny new website for TEA, which launches officially today! Please go and check it out and subscribe to receive regular “Grimoire Pages” and announcements for new courses at www.TheEnchantedAcademy.com.

(TEA Logo)

Contained within its pages is a new course – Foundations of Witchcraft – which starts on Monday and is available for £15 one off, or to my Patreon patrons at the £5 and above tiers.

(Foundations of Magic – Learn the keys to start practicing The Craft in your own way, from considering theory to casting your first spell.)

Which does mean that I’ll be continuing my more rambly posts here… Which I’ve gotta assume you enjoy as you’re still here! Honestly, the biggest news on this front is that I’ve finally taken the plunge and gone full time freelance witch, or “professional pagan” if you will (which honestly makes me giggle a little every time I hear that!)

Like many (though far from all) of us I’ve had plenty of time to re-evaluate my life over the past 18 months and I’ve found myself in a really good place so I figured, really, it’s now or never! Oh, and I passed my Viva (with minor corrections) last month so by this time next summer I’ll have finally finished my philosophical studies.

Time to seize the day, and walk my talk, and all that.

Thank you for being along for the ride with me, as ever. Life is such a huge adventure and, although the path ahead is unclear, we can choose to follow our hearts each step of the way, closer to the magic.

In delight and enchantment,

~Halo (nearly Dr) Quin

Writer, teacher, witch

Now go! Check out the very snazzy professional glamour and come back to let me know what you think!!!

Imbolc Inspiration

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Happy Imbolc folks!

It’s been a month of magic here, in the darkest coldest part of the winter I’ve been lucky to be conjuring love and light and warmth. Last night was my online book launch for “Crimson Craft – Sexual Magic for the solo witch” and it was an honour to share some magic with those that came (even with the tech trouble!)

Then this evening was spent hosting the local moot’s cocreated ritual, celebrating the growing light of love and inspiration. Brigid made an appearance, we sang together, and there was light, of course.

Imbolc is the festival where we mark the emergence of new life, from lambs to snowdrops to baby songs to tiny humans to the rising hope that we’ve made it through the winter, into the world.

This month is also FAWM – February Album Writing Month – a challenge to write 14 songs in 28 days. I love that it starts on Brigid’s day, the festival of Santes Ffraid (in Welsh), saint/Goddess/midwife of creating, healing, and, importantly, inspiration.

I’ve been secretly writing songs and been mostly too shy to share for years, and now I’m ready to change that. This past year, I’ve been practicing making the songs… But haven’t felt ready to show them to many people. I finally realised that truth, which is so often the case: we rarely feel ready. There is always something else to tweak, to edit, to perfect. And so, in the supportive space of FAWM this month, I’m aiming for 7 sharable songs as the light blossoms brighter.

I asked for Brigid’s blessing on this Imbolc night to overcome the perfectionism that holds me back from sharing the joy that arises when I make music, however unpolished it is…

And as declarations have their own kind of magic, let me be clear on my intention: Over the next month I’ll be sharing a little about my musical journey, the lessons it’s teaching me on magic, and, of course, some of my music.


This month I’m hosting a free Full Moon/ Imbolc ritual online for members of the Crimson Coven Collective, on Sunday 5th February ’23, at 7pm GMT. Join the Crimson Coven here to get access!

And I’m offering a new workshop rooted in the magic of the Crimson Craft on “Courting Divine Love” on 15th February ’23. In this workshop you’ll be guided by the gods in connecting to Divine Love, uncovering both self-love and self-trust within yourself, and laying the foundation to manifest the magical life your heart desires.

Find out more here: Courting Divine Love.

A banner for Courting Divine Love, illustrated with roses and the points above. Click for the workshop page.

OUT NOW! Crimson Craft – sexual magic for the solo witch

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My new book of sexual magic is out!!! This is the longest book I’ve written to date, and I’m so proud of it. It is a work of healing, of magic, of embodied, sensual, loving, witchcraft. If you’re looking for an inclusive, gentle guide to uncovering your own inner sexual power, exploring ritual and creative ways of healing and becoming more embodied, and of opening the possibility of deep, devotional connection with the Divine… then Crimson Craft was written for you.

Crimson Craft felt both vulnerable and deeply healing to write, to share the ways in which I’ve healed myself, built relationship with the divine, and tapped deeper into my own inner power through pleasure and embracing the erotic. I deliberately wrote it for a solo practitioner because this is one key way we can reclaim our own personal authority, and take responsibility for something that is so often presented as dependent on others (with their own needs, challenges, wounds). But also to make it inclusive, to offer up these tools and processes to people of all and any gender and genitalia, because, honestly, sexual magic goes much further than what might be in our pants.

As living, embodied beings we are capable of great pleasure, and the magic that arises from being alive. In this, the power of eros is our ultimate guide.

(Crimson Craft can be found in all the normal places for buying books. The links in this post are affiliate links that support independent bookstores across the UK. Your local bookstore will also be able to order it in!)

Crimson Craft is not your normal sex magic book, rather than focusing on the casting spells powered by orgasmic energy (though that definitely gets included!), this book takes us deeper into healing the perceived split between body and mind, opening up greater power and magic for use in all our witchcraft.

It also discusses working with deities of love and passion in building loving relationships with one’s self and one’s gods, the foundations of ecstatic mystical union, and the shadow work of facing cultural and personal taboos.

And it lays the foundation for self-love, which is a fundamental act of rebellious magic in a world that would rather keep us small.

Halo has created a safe space for anyone who wants to explore their own nature as a sexual being. This is an invitation to be open to healing, sacredness, wonder, spirituality and magic. It’s a deeply affirming and inclusive book full of things to explore and the affirmation that exploring is something you are entitled to do… Get it right, and sex can be magic, and mystery, wonder and sacredness. We have in ourselves, and between us, a capacity to make beauty and joy. That should be honoured and celebrated.

– from a review by Nimue Brown, read the whole thing here

Rediscover the sacred nature of sex, pleasure, and the divine erotic in Halo Quin’s Crimson Craft, a guide for sexual magic and a tool for personal healing, spell-casting, and devotional practices in witchcraft. By theorizing the ethics of embodiment and pleasure within these practices, Quin provides exploratory exercises (and tips for taking them further, and safely, with a partner) . Crimson Craft includes an introduction not only to archetypes, deities, and divine powers but also to the context and benefits of using kink in ritual and creative writing, inviting you – the witch and magic-worker – to deepen your understanding of sexual magic’s possibilities and sweetness.

~ from the official blurb

Words: Crimson Coven, arching over half a red rose blossom

Alongside the book, I have opened up a space for people to come together who want to explore and discuss, ritually, creatively, and respectfully, their journeys with the magic of embodiment and pleasure. In the Crimson Coven Collective there are discussion/journal prompts, creative inspiration, healing rituals, and mutual support.

On Monday 30th January we’ll be kicking off the live online events with a Book launch party and ritual, and then, on the full Moon, Sunday 5th February, we’ll gather for a healing Imbolc ritual. Come and join us to be a part of this magical collective!

Thank you for joining me on this magical, healing, journey, in whatever way is right for you.

It is my honour, as always, to share my soul’s work with the people who choose to engage with an open heart.

May your journey be blessed, and your heart be healed.

In delight,

~Halo

PS: You can join my mailing list here for a free Crimson Craft gift, occasional updates and to get my posts in your inbox, just click here.

Happy 2023! (and where I was in 2022)

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(Scroll down for – A recap of 2022 – Some tips for navigating real-life plot-twists with the Witches Pyramid – and a glimpse of what’s coming in 2023)

“Oh gods, now this? Really?” ~ This pic is from about a decade ago when I played Miranda in the Tempest with the Longwood Players and, well, isn’t that play as full of surprises as life!

Ok, ok, so we’re 3 weeks into 2023, but we’ve just had the New Moon, kicking off the Lunar New Year (of the Rabbit!) and Imbolc is just around the corner with the new shoots of Spring.

2022… The year of the Hermit… again!

Last I posted I’d just finished my PhD and was focussed on getting the first Goblin Masquerade together…

Well, in case you’re not following me on social media, or have missed my emails on my mailing list, here’s the short version of the subsequent events of 2022:

  • Goblin Masquerade! Great success!
  • I had a couple of weeks off adventuring in Glastonbury with my coven, and then at an Aurora gig.
  • And then I ended up in hospital for a night in so much pain I couldn’t walk. Still not sure why.
  • Recovery. And more recovery. And very, very very slow walking. (I’m much better now, btw.)
  • I did mentoring for the NDSA (NeuroDivergent Self-Advocacy forum) and studied for my Life Coaching Certificate.
  • Aaand I learned songwriting and music production. I’ll be sharing more about that very, very soon…

As much as the world was opening up in 2022, I was back in hermit mode, adjusting, healing, rebuilding my foundations. As autumn went on and I got stronger I returned to teaching cycle 3 of Star Club (multi-disciplinary training for Magicians), opened a little space in the local market – The Rabbit Hole – and an online space, The Crimson Coven Collective. All with lots of rest-time factored in.

Adjusting Course with the Witches Compass

It’s not unusual to have to adjust course, for something unexpected to happen (plot twists abound!) and we can look for the story of “why”, or we can focus on the “next right thing” as the trolls advised in Frozen 2.* While this certainly felt like a stumbling block, I didn’t feel like I’d been thrown entirely off course, which is always a risk if you’ve got a dream.

Instead, I came back to my heart, my compass, my guiding star.

I definitely spent a bit of time wondering how the hell I was going to travel if I could barely walk, when one of my big dreams has always been adventuring and exploring the world, but I didn’t wallow in this too much. Instead I asked myself the questions that guide much of my life.

What do I dream of? How do I want to feel, today?

What can I choose, at this point in time, that feels like a step towards my dreams?

How can I take that next step?

Rather than relying on a set plan for the journey ahead, I follow my compass, my heart. Asking in each moment how I can make this now closer to what I most long to feel. Perhaps the next step isn’t the last one needed but allowing myself to be guided each day in what brings more joy now means I’m enjoying every part of my life as much as I can.

I invite you to try it. When life gives you a plot twist, look for how you can feel more like you choose to feel in this moment. Ask yourself what the next step towards your dreams is from here. Ask yourself what tiny change you have control over that will support you in your adventure-called-life and help you feel more joy today.

Not everything is fun and games – ouch, seriously – but when we carry our compass with us we can always point ourselves towards our True North, our dreams. Let your heart guide you.

The witches pyramid is a useful model to help with this, and is sometimes called the “witches compass” because it is a guide to the steps of our magic.

To Know, To Will, To Dare, To Keep Silent.

~ The Witches Pyramid

And that’s what we do when we find our path disrupted. We ask questions of ourselves so we KNOW what we dream of, and the feeling we desire that we think the dream will bring. What we long to feel. And then, we set our WILL toward it. We choose to orientate ourselves towards our chosen feelings and our dreams. And then we DARE to take that leap. The final step, of KEEPing SILENT, means we don’t reveal things before it is time. Often our dreams are tender things and there is a lot of pessimism that can encourage doubt before we take the steps we need, so they need the nurturing dark of the soil, the silence of the night’s sky, to hold them safely while we carry them into the world.

(*I finally watched this and I loved all the elemental stuff, the animistic environmentalism, the magic, there’s some fun music… it’s far from perfect but there is a lot I liked.)

What’s Next?

Well, firstly, you can join The Crimson Coven Collective where we’re exploring how to embody our magic more fully! There are journaling and creativity prompts, and online circles, and I’m active there every week.

From the group description:

“The Crimson Coven Collective is for magical, creative, and ritual exploration of embodied, sensual magic.

Do you want your life to be magical, filled with playful, pleasurable, practice?

Do you want to be curious, to get creative with your magic, to explore what feels good and learn how to feel what’s right for you?

We aspire to be…

* Open hearted explorers of wyrd, enchanted, possibilities.

* Creatives conjuring beauty and desire.

* Divine beings embodying sensual spirit.

* Witches delving into the darkness and light of magic.

Get your invitation (and a free ritual) here.

I’m filling up my diary for 2023 slowly, but so far confirmed magical events include:

  • Talk: MoonCon23 – An online conference by Moon Books, I’m up at 2pm 11th March 2023 (topic TBC)
  • Ritual: Imbolc – Aberystwyth.

And events for the Crimson Coven Collective, including book launch parties for my next book “Crimson Craft – sexual magic for the solo witch

And I’ll be performing at…

The end of a chapter

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And that’s it. This month, on Imbolc eve, I finished my PhD corrections and submitted the final FINAL version. This week I got confirmation that it has been accepted!

I’m officially Dr Halo!

The thesis! Yes, I have a theme… “The power of storytelling to re-enchant the world” fits it quite nicely, don’t you think?

I celebrated with a trip to the bookshop, hot chocolate with friends, dinner for one and a movie… Then cuddles from my fella the following night, of course!

I started by letting my brain decompress and dealing with those bits of life that now need dealing with, like clearing out some old books to make space for the new ones! And contemplating where I go from here… With a foxy companion for Imbolc reminding me that spring is emerging from the dark, just like me. 🥰

If you’re on my mailing list you’ll know that I’ve got a whole bunch of monthly discussion based classes that I’m offering through Patreon, or which you can sign up for individually if you’d rather, starting with an online elements of magic workshop next month, on 16th March at 7pm GMT. (And in April I’ll be kicking off a ten week course working with them too…)

Uncover your inner witch - magical workshops in 2023 with Halo Quin - background image of lit candle on a beach at night.

And the Goblin Masquerade is coming together! Last autumn I was chatting with fellow changeling poet Kate Garrett, and somehow got the inspiration to host a goblin market followed by a Masked fairy ball this spring. Everything is coming together and we have music, talks, dancing, and even the steampunk debut of an Ominous Folk of Hopeless Maine show. It’s going to be a lovely day of community and play, and I’m considering it my party for escaping studenthood with a Doctorate at last!

Flier for the Goblin Masquerade in Borth, Ceredigion, Wales, 12th March, from 1pm. Free afternoon market, evening ball £6. Click for more details.

I’ve also been researching ADHD and neurodivergences… There’s so little support for adults with ADHD and we can do amazing things with the right help! So I’m writing occasional thoughts on that over here… On the newsletter “Living with Squirrels” not sure where it’ll go but you’re welcome to sign up if you like.

So I guess I do know where I’m going next… To play with the goblins and re-enchant the world!


PS: If you want to get workshops, extra posts, advance access to material, and more things as and when the goblins inspire me… And support my adventures so I can keep building the academy into something sustainable you can sign up to my Patreon here:

Book Review: Sekhmet

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I’ve long known of Sekhmet, that lion-headed, powerful Goddess of healing and rage, but I have never really known much about her. Olivia Church’s book has definitely changed that.

A pile of books on top of a laptop, "Pagan Portals: Sekhmet" on top, with a small black cat statuette, and a red and gold background.
Yes, I know that’s Bast.

Heavy with the weight of history, Church’s slim book clearly arose from a deep academic understanding of the sources and research surrounding the vengeful Lady of Flame and Pestilence, but the depth of direct experience also shines through. This is not a dry, dusty, text. Although it is dense the language is graced with rich and poetic illumination, and a bright passion for both the Goddess and her culture.

I now know much more than I expected to find out about this ancient Egyptian power, and would certainly use this as a reference book, and for inspiration if I ever choose to work with this multifaceted deity.

Despite the concise nature of the Pagan Portals books, Church has succeeded in including a both breadth and depth of information, and has in no way diminished the Eye of Ra, Sekhmet herself.

The short version: beautifully written, research heavy, introduction to a multifaceted Goddess, crafted with obviously personal, passionate, devotion.

Pagan Portals – Sekhmet, by Olivia Church (Moon Books, 2022)

Quin's Books - Bookshop banner - gold writing on red background, trying to look fancy.
Find this and other magical books, including mine, at Quin’s Books. (affiliate link)

Book Review: Intuitive Magical Practice

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This is a sweet book with lots of thoughts about intuition and examples from the author’s own practice and life. It is very much a sharing from the heart of a personal practice, with a lot of vulnerability and plenty of inspiration. And I love how it weaves the elements so deeply through all of the chapters, and makes intuitive magic so accessible.

This is the kind of book that you really need a highlighter app for (or those little translucent sticky notes!) to mark the things that jump out at you so you can go back and try them, as it is filled with examples and ideas throughout the prose, and they’re sometimes easy to miss. Little gems in a hoard of treasure! 

Clarke has faith in her readers to already apply their intuitive understanding of the world, leading to the potential for people to improve their intuition by handing the details over to their spirit/deep self. For example, the expectation that readers can just “raise that vibration” in themselves, without explanation, assumes a lot of skills, but since these are natural skills that we can all do, if the reader simply places their trust in the author and does without thinking, there’s a good chance they’ll do well. 

Image Description: Intuitive Magical Practice viewed from above with a pot of tea, because is is cosy like a cuppa.
(Image Description: Intuitive Magical Practice viewed from above with a pot of tea, because is is cosy like a cuppa.)

I don’t agree with everything in this book, and the gendering of intuition does not sit well with me personally. In the introduction Clarke says her primary audience is women, and explicitly writes her material for women in chapter 15, so that’s worth bearing in mind if you’re, well, not. That’s not to say there isn’t beautiful, useful material in the chapter though. Personally it seems weird to me to gender a human ability that everyone has, but as the author is writing from her perspective and personal practice with intuition and the divine feminine it makes sense, and there is still a need for space for women to heal that piece of themselves so it is an important chapter for that. 

So in short: “Intuitive Magical Practice” by Natalia Clarke is a sweet, open hearted sharing of intuitive practices within a pagan perspective, primarily aimed at women, working particularly with the elements and the divine feminine. It is packed with inspiration and personal experiences, to really show how intuition can be integrated into one’s pagan practice.

~~~

Buy a copy from Quin’s Books here! (affiliate link)

Or you can order your copy from your local bookstore, or directly from the publisher here.

Please Note: I was given a copy of this book to review by the publisher.

Book Review: The Bird Atlas

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Now my PhD is winding down, I’ve finally started reading books again and I want to start sharing the gems I find.

Enter; The Bird Atlas by Anna McKerrow.

Firstly, I want to talk about this as a magical text. While you could read this as pure fantasy, if you’re magically inclined this book could be used to learn the basics of spirit flight, aka astral travel. Within its deceptively simple lyricism is guidance in several magical techniques which one could explore. I’ll definitely be recommending this to people on that basis.

And then, there’s the story itself…

I started this at bedtime and that was a mistake… I was so enchanted that I read the whole book in one sitting!

Read this if you want to dream while wide awake, to drift into an otherworld alongside ours, to touch mysteries that open your spirit to wondering, or if you want a primer on what it is like to journey between the worlds and be a part of the magic.

This book may be listed as fantasy, but there are real lessons in magic, and life, contained within its sweet and haunting pages. The whole tale has a dreamlike quality to it, the atmosphere of a faery tale which weaves a legend both timeless and for our time.

Oh, and to top it off, the concept is great!

Magical realism done so beautifully I am still under its spell.

💖

Anna McKerrow's The Bird Atlas - a book with a blue cover with a painted raven flying towards the viewer. On a red and gold patchwork quilt.

(Please Note: I was lucky enough to be gifted a copy to review, but every word is true.)

If you like haunting, touching, fantasy, with real magic… find Anna here, and order your copy of The Bird Atlas from your local bookseller.

An Ode to Books

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Oh books! You glorious creatures of paper and print and pixels, light and shadow dancing before our eyes in invocation of mind to mind, heart to heart, spirit to spirit communication!

The chanting of audio books summoning otherworlds and deep knowing. The arcane sigils of the alpha-bet holding fast the hard won wisdom and wit of moments past.

Until we open you, oh wells of wisdom, and allow you to weave your spells upon us, losing time to your enchantments, and finally returning, forever changed. 

All of which is to say ; I’m glad I’m reading more widely again, and I’ve got some book reviews lined up for you all soon!


PS: if you too like books you can buy mine here, and support me to write more here!

Still a Witch

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Eleven years ago I wrote a piece about what it means to me “To Be a Witch” because I was wrestling with the title I’d claimed for myself as a teen, trying to work out whether I really felt like I was entitled to it. In recent years I’ve gotten more wrapped up in the tension between its history and the way it is used today, but still, it is what I am. I have recently reached a new stage in my magical journey and so I’m reflecting on what I choose to carry with me into the next chapter… Looking back over what I wrote then, it is still true, so I’d like to share it with you, once more, tonight:


I wonder what it takes to be a Witch, what it means.

I feel like it is a title that should be earned, and I feel that you earn it by working on yourself, constantly working to be the best you can be as a human being; as part fey, part animal, part divine.

I feel that it represents an inner power, earned through clearing yourself and connecting to the realms beyond the physical, beyond the so called  ‘mundane’. To be a little Fey, deep down.

I feel that it involves a balancing act between the light and the dark, in yourself and in the world.

I feel that it involves a deep sense of Pride which, in its true form, includes humility. Pride is knowing your place in the world, knowing your value and valuing all other beings in the world, knowing everything has a place and a function and is sacred, including yourself.

I feel that it involves acting in alignment with your values, your beliefs, walking your talk and speaking your mind.

I feel that it involves constant attunement to the flow of nature, the flow of magic, coming back to yourself when you notice you are distracted, reconnecting at every moment possible.

I feel that it involves magic, striving to know your True Desire, True Will, who you are fundamentally, and changing consciousness (and the world) in accordance with this.

I feel that it means someone fiercely joyful, deeply compassionate, righteous in their anger when necessary, powerful in themselves, truly honest  and eternally loving.

I feel that it involves doing your best, not Perfection, but a process of improvement.

I feel that to be a Witch is to do all these things, and with a particular flavour, of deep forest greens and cool nights, of full moons through starlit skies, of Northern landscapes before the snow. The emerald lands of home.

I strive, every day, every moment, to do these things, to live connected, aware, to reconnect when I find myself scattered and distracted, to know myself and act in accordance with my Self, to be passionate and compassionate and full of joy. Mine is not a path of yellows and oranges, of sand or smoke or baking sun, but of cool deep forests and winter’s rain, of the hearth fire that holds the damp at bay, and the sun which warms but rarely burns. I am not perfect, but I am in process, and so I claim the title ‘Witch’

by Halo Quin, June 2010

It is all to easy to get wrapped up in the academia of things, and whether or not something is correct. And that does matter. But also, so often there is something utterly essential in remembering what is in Truth. Within magic there is an important piece about being True to your self and having faith in your Truth, in knowing when to trust your feeling, or more accurately intuition, about something. And in reaching into the heart of the matter and finding spirit there.

So I still stand by this today.

I am a witch, of the cunning folk, 
I am fey and human and divine.
I dance with the gods and the shining ones,
and weave magic with this heart of mine,
I sing the song of the forest-folk,
and honour the dead of my clan,
and under the light of the moon, sun, and stars,
I've enchanted since all time began.

Do you call yourself a witch, dear reader? Or a druid? Or magician? Or Seeker? Or maybe something else? What does it mean for you? Drop a comment below.


PS: You can support my work and find guided meditations, resources, and ponderings over on Patreon. You can follow me there for free, or become a Patron yourself to get early access, bonus material, writings and courses (depending on the tier).

Find my Patreon Here.

And you can subscribe to my newsletter for notifications of updates to the blog, and occasional announcements and excitable thoughts of a happy Halo seeking her witchy way through the world, here; Halo’s mailing list.

In delight,

~Halo