Magick: Moondays & The Wheel of Fortune

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Black Power Tarot

Happy Lunar New Year friends and Happy New Moon! For the first time in a long time, time, seems to be moving slowly for me. And I really like it.

When I was 21, I worked at a divination and new age emporium of sorts that offered psychic readings, astrological charting and every imaginable tool for one’s healing, mystical or magical tasks. My friends and I did Tarot often, I used the Aleister Crowley Tarot deck pretty exclusively for close to 10 years! That is until I lost it. Or misplaced it, I honestly don’t know which. My life took many turns and somewhere along the way I stopped doing Tarot. I guess I considered it unnecessary and perhaps too much information.

The Tarot is a pack of 78 playing cards that have been around since the mid-15th century in Europe. From the late 18th century on, Tarot cards have been used both for divination (predicting the future) as well as a kind of guided meditation.  The cards are categorized either as Major Arcana or Minor Arcana. The 22 Major Arcana cards depict images like the Hanged Man, the Devil, the Wheel of Life and the Fool. The 56 Minor Arcana cards are suit cards, but rather than the spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs found in a traditional deck, there are wands, swords, cups and pentacles. There is a plethora of Tarot deck styles, from the traditional Rider-Waite deck to more contemporary decks with themes ranging japanese magna to pop culture icons, geometrics and goddess decks.  source

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Above is one a few versions of the classic Rider-Waite tarot, illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith. 

Since I have remembered my love of tarot I have made a few friends online who do daily readings and one or two who will give group readings. They will lay out three cards number them one to three, and either by the end of day or following day they will reveal the cards to you and provide an interpretation of each card’s meaning. I did one such reading Sunday and found it so affirming. I pulled the The Wheel of Fortune card. Which for all intensive purposes for me means, to remember that my destiny is in my own hands. I am my own master. It often centers me to do short readings like that. Check in’s so to speak. The more I befriend readers and appreciators of tarot, the more excited I become to find another deck!  There are so many gorgeous artistic decks to chose from.

An iconic black & white Lesbian deck from the 1980s. The aesthetics of Thea’s Tarot, slay me:

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The Trung Nguyen Tarot is a gorgeous, global, modern art nouveau work in progress. You can support Trung’s work on Patreon:

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I am a fan of the very minimalist first edition & the bolder 2nd edition of The Wild Unknown tarot

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The Mermaid Tarot took me by surprise, just yesterday actually, via my lovely Instagram soul sister @pretty.mermaid.

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The simple illustrative style of Spirit Speak Tarot just plain speaks to me.

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Tarot del Fuego stole my heart on sight! Ricardo Cavolo’s art makes me happy:

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So many beautiful choices ahead.

xoxo,

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Cinematic: Anna Lucasta

62a5032f628accd5b861157a17541810So if you know me, or have perused my blog for long enough, you understand that I am a Cinephile! Film Fanatic! Movie Maven…. I adore classic film and was literally raised on women centered black and white melodramas featuring High femme goddesses like Bette Davis, Barbara Stanwyck and Claudette Colbert. So many great films, so little time. I am still working on all of their catalogs. I would later learn of Sidney Portier, Dorothy Dandridge, Freddie Washington, Paul Robeson, along side of so many other very talented Black performers in film and television.

But it wasn’t until I was a teenager, that I realized I wasn’t seeing many classic films starring people of color readily available to me. That if they were, the actors were often limited to stereotypes, or  you just couldn’t find the films that featured our most famous Black classic film stars to watch! It took looking long and hard – before google was a verb in our collective vocabulary – to find these films. Remember Movie Guide books!? Thank gawdess for the library, interwebs and dare I say ebay….

This February aka Black History Month, in the face of #Oscarsowhite, I will be centering more of my CineStyle and Cinematic posts on some of my favorite classic films featuring folks of color. From Black independent film studios, and their productions to mainstream films, foreign films, indie cinema and and popular musicals like Carmen Jones featuring complex Black characters. I’ll be sharing more noteworthy films I adore.

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This week’s film is Anna Lucasta, originally a play written about a Polish American family. The first production of Anna Lucasta was by The American Negro Theater at the Mansfield Playhouse. Very little change was required of the play that debuted in 1944 to critical acclaim. The production toured for three years, including London and among its touring company was a very young Sidney Portier. In 1949 the first movie adaption opened starring an all white cast, the 1958 film by Universal Pictures again features an all Black cast.

Anna Lucasta (Eartha Kitt) is still longing for her father’s love and approval, after being cast from the home as a teenage girl for coming of age and being attractive to boys, read – slut shaming. But there are inklings of an even uglier secret there. She falls into a life of prostitution and into the arms of street-wise sailor Danny Johnson (Sammy Davis Jr.) Anna’s conniving siblings send her father to bring Anna back home to barter her off to a visiting young house guest for his fortune. When Anna returns to the family home and is embraced by the the well-intentioned suitor her abusive father sets a hateful plan in motion to destroy Anna’s hopes for a future.

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I watched Anna Lucasta for the first time just before seeing Breakfast At Tiffany’s for the first and only time. Which led to some basic comparisons of the two tales of two women, both existing through their desirability to men.

While Anna Lucasta is 100% drama Breakfast at Tiffany’s is 30% glamorous lifestyle tour, maybe 30% dramedy and 40% romance. I don’t have a problem with glamour or romance! But I was absolutely floored and disappointed when Andy Rooney appeared in yellow face as a caricature of a Japanese landlord to Audrey Hepburn’s Holly Golightly. Horror of horrors. Breakfast at Tiffany’s was forever tarnished for me that very second.

Both films however share women leads who learn to begin to like themselves after being seen and possibly loved without judgement by another. Because it is a serious drama, and a stage adpation, Anna Lucasta has more character development and context for Anna’s circumstance and desire to be loved. Unlike Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Butterfield 8 later in 1960, our heroine is quick to brush off her cynicism and become optimistic when given the chance.

23dcd20bedc0596ed3bf485008eadfdaAnna Lucasta is full of well-formed characters and a surprisingly bittersweet ending. The screenplay and original play were written by Phillip Yordan, the 1958 production was directed by Arnold Laven. Eartha Kitt as Anna Lucasta, Sammy Davis Jr. as Danny Johnson Frederick O’Neal as Frank, Rosetta LeNoire as Stella, Isabelle Cooley as Katie Lucasta, Henry Scott as Rudolph Slocum and Rex Ingram as Joe Lucasta.

Bonus! Sammy Davis Jr. and Eartha Kitt dated three years prior to making the film. <3

Every member of the cast performs beautifully. Don’t worry you can put away your hankies. Even through the sad realizations, it still feels like there is hope at the end of this tunnel for Anna Lucasta. And because I love you, here is a link available to view the film as on Youtube! Yes lovelies! You’re welcome.

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xoxo,

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Magick: New Moons & Stardust

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Saturday was a New Moon. I find that my moon or menstrual cycle is pretty regularly in sync with the Moon. I love feeling like my body is in tune with nature. The New Year is treating me well so far. I am inspired and I have energy and I am working for goals and I’m excited about. It’s been busy already and now its time for the New Moon reminding me to make some magic with my intention setting for the year.

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Since the New year began I have been clearing and cleansing my space and leaving the residue of 2015 behind.  I made my own smudge sticks from herbs I purchased at the grocery store. Growing your own is ideal, but it take nothing away from your intentions or magick to purchase smudge sticks or buy fresh herbs to make them with from the store. I just made sure to buy organic so that I am not burning toxic pesticides.

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I used some sage, rosemary and basil. I set my intentions for what I wanted to clear and release and made two bundles, one with sage and Rosemary, the other with Basil and Sage. I wrapped both bundles of herbs with cotton string and let them hang to dry.  After drying for a couple of weeks they were both ready for use.12540741_10153156031242003_4488149183388023947_n

  • Sage is classically used for smudging. It has both medicinal properties and magickal properties like; cleansing,  healing,  longevity,money,  passion,  prosperity, psychic development,  psychic protection, purification and wisdom.
  • Rosemary is also used often. I love the smell and it feels very uplifting to me and rosemary is another herb good for purification, clarity, healing, protection and repelling negativity as well as a natural memory aid.
  • Basil is a wonderful addition for smudging. I value the magickal properties it offers; love, wealth, protection and courage.

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With this first new moon of 2016, I set my intentions for the year. I tend to journal and create affirmations around them. Doing so, becomes a meditation. Along with smudging my house and sacred space I’ve been doing tarot readings and treating myself gently as we entered mercury in retrograde. It is a beautiful thing to partake in rituals. Last year was my year of Love. It was a gorgeous year in which I was completely dedicated to loving myself, digging deep into my own self awareness and self care. This year I will continue that journey and center on a year of ritual. I am not a fan of routine, but I do love ritual. I will be creating rituals for the things that are most important for me.

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Saturday night’s New Moon left me feeling energetic, light and playful. I volunteered at my favorite classic movie house – the Egyptian theater all day for an event and then stayed for a double feature that night. The movies were in honor of David Bowie’s birthday on Friday.  Sunday early morning David Bowie, one of my favorite  inspiring artists, died. I am so grateful to have been watching The Man Who Fell to Earth for the first time, on his last night on earth. We are stardust.

xoxo,

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ReFashion 2015: What A Year!

 

Thanks so much for joining me for ReFashion 2015 Loves! IT has been a great year and my ReFashioning has given me so much joy. I love creating. And if anything I hope it has sparked you to look at how you use your closet. I hope that this year you are more mindful about what you need vs. what you want than in 2015. I hope you consider whether what you want can actually be achieved in the closet you have right now.

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This journey was a bit of a surprise. I have been chronically unemployed and out of the traditional job market for years now and besides not being able to afford the influx of fast fashion available in plus sizes, I grew tired of seeing so many people in the same clothes that didn’t quite speak to me. And if they did, I realized that the devil was in the details and that I often could re-envision what I have in my closet to meet those sometimes transient needs….

I hope ReFashion 2015 reminded you and inspired you to creatively play in your closet. Know that you don’t have to settle for what a manufacture created, but can personalize your closet. If you don’t sew, and don’t do DIY consider tailoring your clothes to fit you the way you would like them to. And don’t forget to alter them around trends that speak to you.

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The planet is hurting from our wasteful ways which causes people to hurt, whether it is chemicals in the manufacturing process in our clothes and contaminating our water or the literal garbage we create by not recycling them reducing our carbon footprint, is EVERYTHING. People being exploited for their labor is always something to keep in mind. Consumers are always demanding more. But do we need more?  We must call on big corporations to be responsible to their workers and to the planet.

Part of me really likes living off of the fast fashion grid and choosing this extreme variation of slow fashion. I often prioritize other things besides my wardrobe and taking time to make all that I need is not possible. The point is not to make everything in your closet, but to recycle, reuse, shop vintage and thrift often and maybe first. The point is to be mindful. Mind the chain of people affected by your shopping habits. Shopping local, shopping small, supports community and sends a message to big retailers to be more mindful too.

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Lastly, ReFashion 2015 is very much about body love, and my body politic. As someone who lives outside of traditional sizing, including plus sizing at a size 26/28 currently with a non h/w proportionate body type, I decided to make my clothes work for ME. I don’t have expectations to fit into mass manufactured clothing. Even when I do, I generally alter my clothing to my tastes. I invest in my closet so that I use it. I invest in personalizing my clothes so that any and every item in my closet works for me. How many people can say that every item of clothing is working for them?

I don’t believe that my body whatever size and shape should fit into the clothes as they are made. Because they don’t. And that is not something I feel good or bad about. If your body is made for commercial fast fashion more power to you, but understand that it is not true for many bodies of all shapes and sizes.  I believe the clothes that I wear should fit my unique body. And I’ve found that that requires some help a lot of the time. So I encourage you, to dig deeper, look further and take your closet into your own hands. Harness your creativity, love your body as is, and make your closet work for YOU. You deserve it!

I will be back with more ReFashion and more Makes in 2016. I have plans for my sweet little shop to include more post consumer made millinery accessories and some home goods too! Let me know what kind of things you’d like to see in the SweetLeigh shop. Sewing Patterns? ReFashion Kits? I’d love to know! Thanks for joining me on the journey loves! Happy New Year!

xoxo,

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ReFashion2015 Alterations: Gussets 101

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It’s the end of 2015!!!! ReFashion 2015 is almost over. No worries, there will be a ReFashion 2016! So there have been many an alteration that I haven’t documented this year. Most of which feature my quick go to’s for solving fit issues. Inserting Gussets and using my trusty seam ripper are my main tools! By the way I need a serious upgrade on my seam ripper and have my eyes on this beauty – #seamstressporn ;)

Gusset: a piece of material sewn into a garment to strengthen or enlarge a part of it, such as the collar of a shirt or the crotch of an undergarment.

The first thing I do very often is add a gusset (normally a triangle or diamond shape) into tops and dresses that don’t fit with enough ease. Ease is the space in your clothing that allows you enough room to walk, and sit and eat… you know just be in your clothes without restriction. I am at the high end of mainstream fashion’s plus sizing and often find my belly needs more room than manufactures want to give. I pretty regularly opt for a gusset!

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Sheer Shirt Dress with Gusset

So, the perks of inserting gussets is simply that you can create any additional space you need without dramatically altering the original shape of the garment. OR DRAMATICALLY altering the shape of the garment!  This technique was used on the side seams of this tunic below that I sometimes wear as a dress as well. I had no matching  fabric, but because it was a patchwork style print with the color black in it already I used some leftover black double knit which worked well for me. A new print in a similar design or color would have been an options as well.

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The boots featured with both of these outfits above are a different kind of quick fix that I will get into on my next blog post. In the meantime, I used gussets to widen the calves on these Gladiator sandals! Really the possibilities are endless.

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I am also in the process of finishing up this denim jacket ReFashion below and about to put insets into the sleeves to create a mini car coat shape! Really the possibilities are endless.

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So my loves there is a brief recollection of my love affair with the gusset. A savvy smart stylish ecofatshionista‘s best friend! Get acquainted!

No matter what size you are, no one’s body is made to fit into the fast fashion made for massive consumption. There are too many body’s out here in too many shapes and sizes to think that your body has to conform to fit generically made clothes. Your clothes should fit YOU, and YOUR body! Just remember that! Next up- a ReFashion manifesto and another Quick & Dirty Alterations guide before the new year.

xoxo,

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Happy Winter Solstice

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Photo: Vanessa Leigh

The Winter Solstice marks the shortest day of the year and the return of the sun. I love the sun. My love of the moon is a new living breathing thing. But my love of the sun has always been. As I grow older I appreciate the darkness more. I value my natural inclination to hibernate a bit when the days are shortest. I value sitting with the dark. Whether it is the darker sides of myself or the darkness of the night. And I also celebrate the Sun’s return. I recently did a soul reading and pulled the birth card, how that resonated. How better to enter the dying season than with birth.

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Illustration: Vanessa  Leigh

Last year I made this tutorial for the December Solstice cards I sent to loved ones. This year I used the same technique. The illustration above is a peek at this year’s cards which all feature the Moon, and magick of course. <3

Happy Solstice lovelies.

xoxo,

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Magick: New Moon Manifesting

New Moon 2Last night I found myself reliving a recent hurt. And I felt like I was in a bit of a wormhole with those feelings. Anger and pain just flushing out everything else. My mother has been sick with a pretty severe head cold so I fed her lots of garlic, homeopathic teas and cared for her while still feeling all of the feels. I offered to rub some essential oils into her feet to help with her recovery. She is already feeling better today. Funny enough, the oils instantly affected my mood. Right then and there I knew I had to do some magical work for myself!

I doused myself with rose lotion, and hit some pressure points with frankincense, and cedarwood essential oils. The lotion made with rose essential oil was to replace my anger with love. The frankincense, a long time favorite, is a strong purifier, helps to open up my third eye, heals the heart, and is known to lift depression. The cedarwood is warm, and for me, very soothing. I then felt really rejuvenated and started organizing the dried herbs I have been collecting to make magick. I was literally immersed in a half dozen herbs for hours enjoying super fragrant herbs like cloves and cinnamon and was happy as a clam organizing into the early morning.

Today I was tired, a little foggy and thinking maybe I am having an emotional hangover. I probably have a lot of those when I think about it. I chatted with a friend and found my favorite horoscope both of which just confirmed that I am processing things I’ve been unable to the last few months. The New Moon is in Sagittarius which resonated. My ascendant is Sagittarius too.

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“On Friday, December 11th at 2:29 AM PST, the moon will be new in Sagittarius….   This is the first new moon in Sagittarius that we’ve had with Saturn co-present in about 28 years or so. Saturn, having recently moved into Sagittarius where it will stay for the next two years, is encouraging us to embark upon our journey with a great commitment to its process….Steady your feet. This isn’t a race. We need conscious co-creators to take their journey one step at a time. Look at the horizon. Look to where you are going. Look to what is possible as you commit yourself to the path that you have chosen.” – Chani Nicholas

Time to embark sure and steady. So I have collected my herbs and some oils and I have my manifesting journal. I am ready to celebrate the waxing moon and call my dreams into being with more clarity than I have had in a very long time. This has been a manifesting year, in growth I now need it to be a manifesting year in action.

The Universe Is In Us

Tonight it has begun to sprinkle and is expected to rain tomorrow (or today) for the New Moon here in Lalaland. And it’s a welcome cleansing for me.

A ritual bath, affirmations and candle meditations will complete my two days of introspection and help me with my fresh start on this final New Moon of the Calendar year. I am excited to set my intentions.

 

xoxo

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