I parked my car in the far reaches of the mall lot because I could no longer see through the tears to drive. It was 2012 and my life was a very different place—everything and everyone around me seemed to be falling apart. My family was experiencing the loss of my grandfather, my mother had been away dealing with the situation, my relationship was at a serious crossroads, and my career was painfully unfulfilling. In the course of six months, my life had turned upside-down and I couldn’t understand why. I was stuck in the fog, blinded by what I could only see as misfortune, and I felt completely powerless.
But I always believed in magic, and like so many others, I fell back on my faith to get myself through the crisis. I balled up the sleeve of my sweater, swiped the mascara tears off my face, and got out of the car.
When I was little, I had gruesome night terrors. Most of the time, I was too afraid to even sleep, cowering under the blankets until I saw the light break through the blinds. Once the light began to grow, I could safely run down the hall, jump into bed with my parents and sleep comfortably. One night, my mother brought in a set of white-and-pink polka dot printed sheets and began to make up the bed. “These,” she told me very seriously, “are magic sheets. As long as they’re on the bed, you can only have good dreams. Nothing can hurt you, nothing scary can see you, and you can sleep without worrying about monsters.” And I believed her—it worked. Whether my mother charmed the sheets themselves or simply knew that setting the intention would be enough for five-year-old me to work the magic on my own, I don’t know, but in 2012 I felt it was time for another enchantment to propel me forward.
I marched into Sephora, purchased the most outrageous lipstick I could find, and took it home to work some magic. I anointed it with oil, set it on my altar while I burned candles, ran it through the smoke of incense, surrounded it with crystals, all the while telling the Universe (and consequently myself) that as long as I wore that lipstick, I would never have a bad day. The next day, when I pulled it off the altar and applied it generously, I had the best day I’d had in a very long time. Every day afterwards, as long as I wore that lipstick, the tensions and traumas I’d experienced grew farther and farther away. I moved forward.
Since then, I’ve charmed a number of objects for assorted reasons. I performed a similar ritual with a bottle of perfume to secure a job I desperately wanted, and after wearing it to the interview received a call back less than three days after. This summer, I found myself at another impasse. I charmed another lipstick, even more outrageous than the last, and wore it near daily. That lipstick stained glasses across the country, kissed tombs and shrines in New Orleans, and smeared on handkerchiefs while I worked through the emotions and searched for the magic that would put my life back together. And before the summer was over, things turned around.
I’m not saying that lipstick can fix a life. Lipstick can’t bring back the dead or win the lottery. But lipstick can be a bold reminder of our personal power. It can become a signature, a personal power object that we use to remind ourselves of our inner and outer beauty, our natural magnetism. We can use it like a lightning rod to amplify our energy, or project an image of the person we’re trying to embody. Lipstick can be a compelling glamour.
Below is an outline of the ritual I use to charm objects like this.Feel free to adapt it to your needs, use the tools you feel speak to your purpose, do as much or as little as you feel you should. Unlike “High” Ritual Magic, witchcraft is rarely by the book. For me, spell craft has always been like prayer—everyone does it differently, for different purposes, to different ends.
For this ritual, I recommend using a candle in a color that corresponds with your intention, a selection of crystals to raise energy, essential oils or blends for attraction, offertory incense, and a blend of herbs or flowers specific to your intention. You can focus simply on attracting positive energy and events, building towards your purpose, or specify that you want to enhance your sexual attraction or draw prosperity. Additionally, I recommend the absolute most outrageous lipstick you can tolerate—this summer, I used Urban Decay’s Junkie, a sparkling reptilian green. I’m sure this would work with a more demure daily-wear shade but I can guarantee you there’s nothing like a few swipes of rainbow-colored lipstick to make you feel like a totally badass witch, ready to conquer the world.
I always begin by cleansing my space. For me, this involves burning sage and wafting the smoke into each corner of the space, and cleaning my instruments with sea salt. You may choose to take a bath with salt and herbs, to dress in something clean that makes you feel powerful. Whatever helps you raise your energy and get into the headspace of manifesting magic.
Take your herbs and scatter them around the space. For this ritual, I used rose petals collected from bouquets I’ve been given, but I’ve worked with herbs and flowers purchased specifically from magical suppliers and corner bodegas as well. Take the candle and hold it between your hands. Feel it grow warm as it absorbs your body heat, and understand that it is also absorbing your energy. Focus on your intention. See yourself with whatever you desire: imagine the devastating Instagram snap you’re going to take, envision yourself taking the hand of the partner you’re trying to draw, picture yourself writing that rent check and not worrying about whether it will clear or how you’ll buy groceries afterwards. With this still in your mind’s eye, take your chosen oil and anoint yourself: start with your wrists, drawing lines inwards towards your body, willing what you want to be pulled in towards you. Draw a line up your breastbone, towards your head, touch it to your third eye and see how much more vivid your vision becomes. Then, anoint your candle, holding it with the wick away from your body and drawing the line from wick to base. Tell the Universe that as it burns down, your goal will grow closer and closer towards you.
Place the candle in a central position on the altar and light it, knowing that as the flame burns, your intention solidifies. Begin the place your crystals. I used rose quartz, green aventurine, pink moonstone, and pink tourmaline, all stones sacred to Venus and used to draw luck and love from within and without. Arrange them in a way that feels natural, using your hands to sense the individual vibrations. Once your crystals are in place, light your incense and waft the smoke around the space, focussing on your intention as you inhale the fragrance. Feel the magic growing denser as the air grows thicker around you.
Now, pick up your lipstick. Hold it between your hands like the candle. Feel it grow warm. Feel the energy buzzing around you and pull it into you—breathe it into your lungs and then push it through your chest, down your arms, and into your hands. Allow the lipstick to absorb that energy and know that each time you apply it, you’ll be absorbing it too. Pack in as much energy as you can. Then, take your oil and anoint the lipstick, starting at the top and drawing the line towards you, towards the bottom of the tube. Know that as the tube runs out, you’ve absorbed more and more of that magic. You don’t need to finish it to manifest your goal, but with each application, you grow closer and closer.
Place the lipstick on your altar. You may choose to place it on a bed of crystals or sprinkle your herbal blend over it. You might want to meditate on the candle flame or incense smoke, but don’t linger too long. Your intention has been set, your energy has begun to manifest, and now you leave it in the hands of the Universe to bring you closer. Don’t obsess. Walk away. Go to bed, paint your nails, eat cake, or drink some wine. Do something for yourself. In the morning, take the remaining herbs, the candle wax, the dust from the incense, and collect it in one place. You can choose to hold onto the remnants until your manifestation is complete, or dispose of them immediately. I usually bury my materials and trust that as they break down, they release more energy towards my cause.
Obviously, practice caution with your materials. Don’t abandon open flames, and don’t bury, burn, or release into the water any harmful chemicals or poisons that can hurt wild flora or fauna. You’re working in harmony with the Universe.
That’s it. Your lipstick is now fully charged, and possibly one of the most powerful objects in your magical arsenal. Wear it proudly, knowing that each swipe not only brings you one step closer to your goal, but also releases courage to reach for what you want, assurance that you deserve your best life, and understanding that you are so, so much more powerful than you might believe.