Gabriela Herstik is a writer, fashion alchemist, and a practicing witch who writes an advice column for Nylon called “Ask A Witch.” Her book,Craft: How To Be A Modern Witch, was published in March 2018. According to modern witches like Herstik, when we work with fashion and makeup intentionally, we’re actually casting a spell in what’s known as “glamour magick.” Ahead, she tells us how we can use lipstick to get grounded, connect to our own power, and infuse our lives with self-love.
Let’s get one thing straight: Makeup and fashion aren’t frivolous. They don’t make us conceited, or any less powerful and intuitive and wise. They don’t take away our ability to think or create. In fact, they can add to our lives in a deep way.
I’m a practicing witch, which means I work closely with both the earth and moon and their cycles. I use energy (which cannot be created or destroyed) to cause a certain outcome which is known as magick. I practice spells and rituals, like this one, as a way to connect me to something bigger, which I like to call the universe or goddess and god. In many traditions of witchcraft (there are many) there’s a large emphasis on goddess, or the female aspect of the divine. Talk about girl power.
Red lipstick is one of my favorite glamours. In a magical context, a glamour is something that veils what lies beneath. Back in the day, this could mean a faery would switch out a human baby for one of their own (known as a changeling) and cast a glamour so no one would be the wiser. In modern day, the term “glamour” refers to someone fabulous, refined, elegant. But glamour is constructed; it’s a veil in which we drape ourselves. Glamour is power because it’s fabricated beauty; it’s the way in which we choose to let the world see us. That’s where this lipstick spell comes in.
Sometimes we just need a magical boost to be able to speak our truth unapologetically while claiming our power. And what better way to do this than by charging up our lipstick (and selves) with this intention? When we weave our day-to-day life with some magick, like this ritual, we’re bringing the sacred into our daily life. In this lipstick spell, we’ll be going through the basic steps of a ritual, which include grounding, creating an intention, raising energy, and then grounding that energy again.
You don’t have to believe in any certain God or Goddess to practice this—all you have to believe in is your own energy and power.
You don’t have to believe in any certain god or goddess to practice this—all you have to believe in is your own energy and power. By infusing our lipstick with intention, we’re bringing it from the mundane to the magical. Each time you swipe that lipstick on you’re blessing yourself and creating fashion alchemy. When you take the time to pull your own power back into yourself (or your lipstick), you’re claiming your worth. You’re casting a spell; you’re making a ripple effect in the world by claiming your confidence and infusing your daily life with some self-love in an out of the ordinary way.
Red is a power color; it’s connected to the root chakra, or the energy center located at the base of your spine. Red is security, it’s sensual, it’s demanding, and it doesn’t mess around. When we bless our lipstick to help us speak our truth and then swipe this on our lips, we’re creating an energetic battle cry and boundary that allows us to stand more firmly in our own majesty, strength, beauty, and authority.
We’re creating an energetic battle cry and boundary that allows us to stand more firmly in our own majesty, strength, beauty, and authority.
You can perform this spell whenever you need, although a new or full moon would be the most powerful days, as would Friday (which is ruled over by Venus, planet of love, sex, and beauty.) Full Moons: May 29, June 27, July 27th, August 26th. New Moons: June 13, July 12, August 11.
Here’s what you need: red lipstick and any crystals you work with. An easy way to start working with crystals is to buy what’s calling out to you intuitively, and then looking up its properties on a site like Crystal Vaults. Clear quartz (for amplifying and channeling power) and Rose Quartz (for self-love) are a good place to start. You also might want acred herbs to cleanse like palo santo, sage, or mugwort to place on your altar. Your altar is like an energetic focal point of your work. You can have talismans, crystals, flowers, photos, and special items gathered here.
Step One: Set up the space
Using crystals, photos of women you admire, your favorite lipsticks and makeup, candles, and/or icons, create a space that reflects how you want to feel.
Make sure your phone is on silent, any music you want playing is on, pets are put away, and that roomies or partners won’t disturb you.
Find your way to your bathroom or vanity. If you like, you can set up a beauty altar here. This is a space for you to channel and focus on your intention with your beauty rituals and routines. Using crystals, photos of women you admire, your favorite lipsticks and makeup, candles, and/or icons, create a space that reflects how you want to feel. If you want to feel peaceful, you can try using white candles, some jasmine incense, sea shells, and highlighters. If you want to connect to your heart, you can try using photos of Aphrodite or Venus, important women in your family or life, rose quartz, red candles, and lipstick. Get creative and let this unfold naturally! Since this is a lipstick spell, you may wish to make your lipstick the center of attention. Again, do what feels right.
You can also burn sage, palo santo, or use other sacred smoke to cleanse your space and self. Make sure to get the corners of the room as well as the crown of your head, palm of your hands, soles of the feet, limbs, and torso. You can also cleanse your lipstick before placing it in front of you by passing sacred smoke from palo santo or sage around it. This will help clear it of any energies.
Step Two: Ground and find intention
Use whatever visuals make you feel the most grounded. Then start to think about your intention.
Once your space has been set, it’s time to get back into your body. This is the first step in magick! Make sure your knees aren’t locked and that you’re not clenching your jaw. Start to connect to your breath, taking a few deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth, allowing any sounds to come out. Start to feel the way the earth is supporting you. You can imagine roots moving down into the earth, connecting you to this energy, moving up through your spine, and blooming like flowers at the top of your head. Use whatever visuals make you feel the most grounded. Then start to think about your intention: Do you want to be more comfortable stating your needs to a partner? Do you want to nail a job interview? Do you just want to be able to speak your truth without apology? Keep this at the forefront of your mind.
Step Three: Bless it
Grab your lipstick and say: “With this lipstick I speak my truth clearly, powerfully and unapologetically. I stand as my fullest expression of self.”
Do your makeup while still being conscious of your breath and intention. When you’re ready to put on your lipstick, take a second to reconnect with the earth. Start to breathe and rub your hands together, creating friction. Do this until your hands get really warm and then grab your lipstick and say: “With this lipstick I speak my truth clearly, powerfully and unapologetically. I stand as my fullest expression of self.” Repeat this three times, imagining this warm energy you’ve raised is seeping into the lipstick.
Step Four: Put it on and then ground
Take the time to really appreciate how you feel and how you look.
Once you’ve infused your lipstick with intention, put it on. Take the time to really appreciate how you feel and how you look. When you’re ready, you can imagine the roots from the soles of your feet and crown of your head melting down through your spine to the sole of the earth. You can repeat the mantra from step three to yourself whenever you need or whenever you’re reapplying lipstick.
You can adapt this ritual to any specific situation you may have, with different makeup, with a new intention, etc. If you want to raise energy between steps three and four, you can also masturbate, dance, chant, do yoga, etc., while keeping your intention in your mind as your energy climaxes. No matter how you choose to work with glamour, may it bring some beauty and magick to your life.
If this ritual felt magical and delicious to you, then welcome to the wonderful world of magick and witchcraft!
If this ritual felt magical and delicious to you, then welcome to the wonderful world of magick and witchcraft! You can follow the steps of this ritual (cleansing, grounding, raising energy, grounding energy) in other areas of your life. Next time you’re really in your feels, try grounding into the earth like a tree and then speaking from your heart. You can also repeat this lipstick spell with other makeup or jewelry if you want to make a talisman ( a charged object you can wear for blessings or protection). If you really want to go down the witch rabbit hole (and I don’t blame you for that), you can check out my column on everything witchy, The Hoodwitch, The Witch Wave Podcast and Witches, Sluts, Feminists by Krisen Sollee. Happy witching!