by Erica Feldmann
Last Summer, around this time inspiration struck in the form of a sprig of basil. It came from my tiny porch garden and its smell was intoxicating to me. I’m obsessed with smells, but I’d never noticed how much I loved the smell of basil before! But not just the basil, the mint, the rosemary and the lemon balm! Don’t even get me started on the lemon balm! WHO KNEW fresh herbs smell so freaking good! (many, many people I’m sure, but not me). So then every morning I’m getting up to water my little herb garden and I’m gently shaking hands with a leaf or two just to release some of the scent into the air and dopamine into my brain. I start looking forward to it as soon as I wake up. Soon the ritual includes my morning cup of iced coffee. Then I started wearing my robe whilst drinking my coffee and watering my garden because that felt like a spell to be the kind of porch dad I decided I wanted to be.
Now, don’t get me wrong- this little ritual didn’t make me forget about the climate crisis, or that the panini was in its third crushing year, or that the Supreme Court had just overturned Roe V Wade, but it did make facing another day on earth a little easier! I had made some time and space in my life to connect to nature in a really accessible way, and it became a highlight of my day. A routine that became a ritual that became an idea...
According to my notes app the idea started as “a year of intentional living type book”. Followed by my first working title: “Empowering Domestic Spells for the Apocalypse” . LOL.
Things really took off when I started thinking about all the ways you could use fresh herbs, besides cooking with them. Projects that with a little extra intention could be practical, low lift and super-accessible rituals. Like, have you ever seen ice cubes with fresh herbs in them? They’re so beautiful. And SO easy. And now your ice cubes are all little spells!
So first I made a simple tisane with my lemon balm and mint. And I can’t really explain it, but it made me feel a little more powerful than I did the day before.
Then I googled “how to make a hydrosol” and I made a hydrosol with basil and mint and that became a magical cooling spray. And that made me feel a little more like a wizard than I did the day before.
Next I infused olive oil with tarragon and it was my first time working with tarragon so I felt like I was expanding my horizons and sometimes when your world feels small, something new can feel like a miracle.
So with just a few simple projects I went from barely knowing what basil smelled like to feeling more powerful, more like a wizard, and I had fancier olive oil than I had before! In this dystopian capitalist hellscape, that felt like not nothing?
And so that became the book, Intention Obsession! Empowering Domestic Rituals for Every Season
I decided to structure it around the zodiac seasons and chose Taurus Season as the sample chapter I would write for a book proposal. My natal Venus is in Taurus and I was already falling in love with the project. I centered the chapter around planting a “Pleasure Garden”: it can be herbs or flowers. It can be a legit garden in your backyard or it can be a little lavender plant on your windowsill. It doesn’t matter. You can make pretty ice cubes and oils if you want- I will tell you how. Or you can do nothing but intentionally rub a leaf or a petal between your fingers for a quick burst of pleasure in the morning. Sometimes that’s it! Sometimes that's the whole spell!
The big message of this book is not just that your life might get a little better if you consistently and creatively add intention into it- although, that is obviously one of the messages. But I also want to explore how we can be more intentional in how we engage with our communities. To build activism and social justice work into our lives in ways that feel somewhat easeful and sustainable. As we heal and transform on an individual level, how can we help the collective heal and transform along with us? Because none of us are really free until all of us are free. So there’s spells for engaging in that kind of magical work too!
I’m a little more than halfway done with the manuscript and I have to tell you, it’s a lot of work but I’m having so much fun with it. Like my first book HausMagick there will be pretty photos and some short personal essays, but it will be a little different in tone. This one is more like having a conversation with me about what kinds of spells I’m doing to keep myself sane over sun tea mocktails. Cheers!
Since the most important ingredient in any spell is intention, pretty much everything in this book can be done with items you probably already have in your home, or that can be easily obtained for not a lot of money. Making witchcraft more accessible to everyone is super important to me, so we’re going to be working with teas you already have in your cabinet, clothes you already have in your closet and leftovers you’re about to throw away. Magic can be anywhere, and we’re going to find it everywhere!
The Moon is in Gemini and the Witches say “Use the Sight”.
Intention Obsession! will make its debut in Fall/Winter of next year- !