Megan Alexandria is a conjurer. She owns Revolutionary Mystic, a “hoodou” botanica and podcast of the same name.
Spell work is also how she found her way through tragedy. When Alexandria began her practice years ago and always felt a connection to mystic arts, however, when her grandmother passed away last year, she delved deeper into her craft. “The loss of her and her transiting from a living ancestor to a non-living ancestor was “really huge for me on a spiritual level,” she said.“I didn’t even intend to but all of a sudden I channeled my grief into all the things you see.”
She always felt intuitive but it wasn’t until after an abusive relationship ended that she found her way to using Tarot cards in order to find meaning and begin her journey to heal.
“Growing up, I saw stuff in the local shops and botanicals. There were times when I wish we had a candle for this, like for queer love” she said.
Abuse is very common
According to the Domestic Violence Hotline website, abuse is defined as “Domestic violence (also called intimate partner violence (IPV), domestic abuse or relationship abuse) is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship.” Abuse is very common:
On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States — more than 12 million women and men over the course of a year.
An estimated 13% of women and 6% of men have experienced sexual coercion in their lifetime (i.e. unwanted sexual penetration after being pressured in a nonphysical way). 27.2% of women and 11.7% of men have experienced unwanted sexual contact (by any perpetrator).
Two-thirds (66.2%) of female victims of stalking were stalked by a current or former intimate partner
81% of women who experienced rape, stalking, or physical violence by an intimate partner reported significant short- or long-term impacts such as post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms and injury
There are a number of reasons why people in abusive relationships stay among them. For those who do manage to leave, some may find they need to heal not only the external wounds from the relationship but the internal scars as well.
Survivors of abuse may not turn to the churches but rather finding other practices of faith that aid in their healing. Many use other faith-based healing practices to find new eyes on older, more ancient practices that veer away from traditional thinking. “Praying about it” is familiar among Christians but showing up in a unique way with the use of Crystal Healing, Tarot Cards and other mystic practices.
Spiritual, mystic practice a source of healing
“People are asking for more awareness and we are in an awakening journey. Because of the internet and the information available to us people are finding answers that are awake and beyond the conventional ways,”Lilly Ayers
Lilly Ayers owns Queen Hippy Gypsy, Oakland’s first Black woman owned crystal botanica. “My previous relationship was rooted in religion. We went from Christian to Muslim to hermetic faith practices and he dictated the every area of faith,” Ayers said.“I followed because he was my husband. The husband was the head of household and I was following his lead. I was not unique in that way.”
Over the past number of years there have been reports about Christian churches being complicit in hearing or supporting abuse victims. According to a Christian Post survey in 2014, nearly 40 percent of pastors believe that only five percent or less of their congregants have survived in the by physical or sexual violence. Ayers also found her way back to her mystic practice after years in an abusive relationship.
For Ayer’s re-emergence in her mystic practice, she received an oracle reading from a spiritual advisor, a spiritual bath, and burned protection candles. She focused on her own journey. “I focused on myself. It was all self work. I try to teach others that healing is a personal journey, at least it was in healing myself,” Ayers said “There are women who do different types of spells, like putting names in honey jars. I knew for me it was all about focusing on how to heal me. That’s what I like to teach.”
I’ve had customers tell me what’s going on in their lives and what they want to heal, transform, increase, and remove within themselves.”Kenji Correa
Healing from a painful experience can come in many different forms. Much like a person may turn to yoga for centering themselves, individuals can find a centering peace in use of crystal healing during meditation. Crystal healing is a practice where it is believed using gems and crystals such as quartz or amethyst to attract positive or detract negative energy. “I’ve had customers tell me what’s going on in their lives and what they want to heal, transform, increase, and remove within themselves,” Kenji Correa, owner Gifts of Prosperity, an independent operator for crystal healing, said. “I guide them to crystals that may alleviate or bring deeper healing or truth to whatever it is they seek.”
There is a growing community of people who are drawing to mystic practices. There are numerology memes explaining meanings of 11:11, time stamped tarot readings on YouTube, and at the start of a new year there are a host of workshops for manifesting abundance and vision boarding. “People are asking for more awareness and we are in an awakening journey. Because of the internet and the information available to us people are finding answers that are awake and beyond the conventional ways,” Ayers said.
Making magic visible as healing practice
Alexandria wants to see more “Black, brown, indigenous, queer, trans & radical magick visible in spell work,” according to her website. Community members have supported her work. “I just tried to figure out as many ways to subvert the system while participating in it. A lot of my projects like the podcast are crowdfunded by Patreon which allows me to give witches of color scholarships for education and reading.”
Traumatic experiences are just some of the ways that people use mystic practices to protect themselves. Alexandria has spell candles for almost every situation. She explains she has one specifically for sex workers to keep them safe, herbal spells for manifesting wealth, and incantations for any other thing you can think of.
Ayers continues to share her experiences and her story of healing with her customers. Her customers come from different walks of life and experiences that require some type of healing.
“Everyone is coming from different trauma, not just physical abuse. They say that the crack is where the light gets in,” Ayers said.”Everyone doesn’t have to experience trauma to start but it’s important to start to find a way toward healing.”