WitchyWomen Wednesday

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Chris ( aka Ammo ) O’Day, The Fitness Witch, has been in the occult community for over 20 years. She specializes in mind, body and spirit transformations through fitness, nutrition, energy work and magic. She is initiated in Santeria, Quimbanda and ceremonial magic and a 2nd degree Gardnerian High Priestess. She can be reached through her Fitnesswitch page on instagram or her website www.fitnesswitch.com for in person/online personal training, yoga, reiki, tarot and astrology. She currently resides in Redondo Beach California.


I spent a really long time avoiding working with the dead. Even though I was out of the broom closet in my 20’s, I wasn’t ready for such intense work. I was also already 30 by the time a close relative passed away, so death just hadn’t touched my life yet. But from that point it hasn’t slowed down.

 

I’ve lost so many people to addiction, Cancer and suicide that I’ve lost count. Once death started happening, and my loved ones still felt close by, to the point of appearing in dreams and visions, I realized it was the missing puzzle piece to my magical practice. I set up a simple altar and they were front and center from that moment, ever present and ready to guide in the right direction.

 

This magic has brought me to such an incredibly healing place, as well as to straight up slap in the face reality checks.

 

At 9 years old, I died on the operating table. My appendix burst while they were doing surgery. My childhood was plagued with stomach aches. This particular one was worse than usual and landed me in the hospital. After the operation, I was held there for 3 weeks, with a needle in some vein or another the entire time, eating every Italian Ice in the place, and driving the staff insane. I look back and see this incident as to what led me here, all these years later, working with the dead and my ancestors and preparing to be an end of life doula. The dead, at least my dead, don’t fuck around when they want me to learn a lesson.

 

As I approach the one year anniversary of my fathers death next month, which has shook the very foundation of who I am, I thank him, all my blood dead as well as all of those that have passed in my magical lineage, for their constant guidance and love, and for always having my back.

 

The best part of this practice is that it is relatively easy to reach the dead in your bloodline, even if you’ve never met. An easy set up to start with is a white candle, a glass of water, photos ( only of deceased people ) and an offering of some kind. If you know their tastes in food, alcohol, etc. you can leave those as well.

 

For example, my grandfather loved red licorice, so I always buy him Twizzlers. My grandmother lived on chocolate and lipton tea, so I always make sure those things are there, too. Choose one day a week to sit in front of your altar, light the candle, put out the offerings and just be still. Tell them your troubles and ask for guidance. Sit and just listen. If you have trouble making a connection, persevere, and over time things will start to happen.

 

Beginning a meditative practice will be of great assistance to help you quiet your mind so that you can hear what they’re trying to communicate to you. I’m truly stunned at all the distant relatives (and when I mean distant, I mean 500 years ago) that have made their presence known. And once that connection is made, you have a constant feeling of someone having your back and guiding you to a better life. I invite you to celebrate your beloved dead during the thinnest of veils between worlds, Samhain, and make magic that will change your life.

WitchyWomen Wednesday

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Natalie is a Tarot reader, Medium, and a student of Astrology. She is a Priestess in several traditions of Witchcraft, and enjoys all variety of plant medicine, sigil magic, and ecstatic ritual. She spends her time traveling between the veils, studying the dark arts and crafts, and creating ritual goods and self care items for her online store Skeleton Key Shop. Her favorite moments are spent making magic with her coven Deam Lux and snuggling with her bunny familiars.


Santeria, also known as Lucumi or La Regla de Ocha is an initiatory religion with origins in West Africa, that was brought to Cuba, Brazil and other regions of the Caribbean during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Centered around deities known as Orishas, that were often syncretized with Catholic Saints in order to preserve the practice in secret.

I am a Priestess of Yemaya in the Lucumi Tradition, more commonly known as a “Santera”. When you come into my home it looks mostly like everyone else’s. You won’t find huge altars full of statues and candles, or chicken feet hanging from the ceiling. In fact my home looks pretty ordinary besides my penchant for crystals, apothecary jars, and the spaces reserved for my Ancestors and other practices which are usually kept out of sight.

You wouldn’t know what I practice unless I specifically told you, or if you too were a practitioner and able to read the subtle signs. A certain charm on my necklace that is only prescribed during ordination as a priest or the bracelets I always wear that match with none of my outfits.  My close friends know that certain foods are taboo for me.  I also try to avoid getting wet in the rain – also a taboo for me.  Sounds strange, but becoming deathly ill twice after getting caught in the rain makes you realize that your Abuela is sometimes right!  My point is that the Lucumi religion is a highly personalized practice that is fitted to the individual. What is medicine for one person can be poison for another.  

According to the lore of this practice, which is purely oral tradition, we are all born with our ORI.  In new age terms, this is our higher self. This higher self is connected to our life’s path and comes with an innate knowledge of certain things.  It has its own power, or ASHE. Although we have free will to make our way through life, it is our ORI that repeatedly nudges us in the direction of our best life, whether this is through people that we meet, or a seemingly random chain of events.  These moments and people change the entire course of our lives, as it did mine.

 

You wouldn’t know what I practice unless I specifically told you, or if you too were a practitioner and able to read the subtle signs.”

 

I was born into a family that suffers from Bipolar disorder, Depression, and Schizophrenia. Unfortunately, some of my family members committed suicide.  My mother attempted suicide when I was just two years old. She had gone off her medication during pregnancy in order to carry me at great risk to herself.  As we know, postpartum depression is very serious. It is even more so for people already living with mental illness. Miraculously, she survived what should have been a fatal injury.  Still, she was hospitalized with a fractured spine. For the next three years, she would relearn how to walk and perform basic motor functions. During this time, I was cared for by my grandmother.  Abuela was a priestess of Vodou, as practiced in the Dominican Republic. She was also a nurse at an elderly care facility. Every day, I would watch her pray, work, and help the streams of people that came for her assistance.  She would sit me at her altar – in this case and practice, there were many statues and candles – and taught me how to pray.  I prayed every night for my mother to come back to me as she was, although I was warned repeatedly that she may never walk again.  Against all odds and prognoses, she made a full recovery. Though I went back to my normal life, I never forgot my introduction to this world.  My innocent prayers were heard by these mysteries, as they were called.

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Fast forward to my early 20’s.  After years of solitary practice, I found a pagan path where I was exploring traditional witchcraft and being offered initiation.  Coincidentally, I was presented with an opportunity to read tarot in a famous New York botanica (Nudge.) At this time, I had absolutely zero interest in the religions of my culture.  Yet, I was suddenly immersed head first into this world. Instead of crystals, pretty talismans, and perfume oils, I was surrounded by Catholic statues, camphor, cigars, Florida Water, and images of the Orisha.  

 A close friend and colleague had been seeing someone whom she called “Her Padrino.”  She was super secretive about her interactions with this person, which I found rather creepy. Sometimes, she would show up to work dressed completely in white and be eerily silent most of the day.  She was my polar opposite, as I was wearing all black and blasting My Chemical Romance each morning. I was the one that customers would gravitate to for hexing and separation work. Looking back, I realize that I was ANGRY with a lot of things in my life and that this was a perfect outlet at the time.  Though my tireless work was effective, my aura was dark.

 A particularly cool shipment of statues came in one day, and my High Priestess presented me with an extravagant gift, a large statue of the Orisha Yemaya. She was a brown skinned, bare breasted mermaid with a pink tail, a jeweled crown on her head and holding a silver star in her hands (Nudge). This was odd as I was being trained in Initiatory Wicca, which has absolutely nothing to do with Orisha practice, or other African Diasporic religions. (This is the realm of usually ill-informed eclectic witches and a whole separate topic). She said simply, “You should have this. This is you.” I laughed, thanked her and accepted the gift, as alien as it was. Truthfully, this lovely statue stayed in her padded foam box for several years as I had no idea what to do with her.

 

Instead of crystals, pretty talismans, and perfume oils, I was surrounded by Catholic statues, camphor, cigars, Florida Water, and images of the Orisha. ” 


Around the same time my colleague and fellow Bruja invited me to a drumming. An Orisha drumming is not anything like a pagan drum circle. It is normally reserved for initiates or for members of an Ile, a temple or house of Orisha. I don’t know how this even happened, but I went to the event.I could hear the drums before I even entered and they immediately gave me a faint queasy feeling, like butterflies in my chest. When we entered the large room, the air was surprisingly thick and humid. To the left was a huge altar called a Throne. It was adorned with fabric, fruits, sweets and other items gleaming in shades of gold and pink. Three drums were set up in the front of this room.  As the drums were played, my friend and I stayed plastered to the back wall hoping that no one would ask us who invited us, or why we were there, as the girl who had extended the invite in the first place was a no show.

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I watched the people dance, their methodical steps giving way to abandon and wild movements at times that frightened me. A woman danced alone in front of the drums, her clothes plastered with sweat and her face beet red. After a time she was ushered away, only to return with a glistening blue and silver shawl around her neck, her hair wrapped up in another lovely fabric, and several younger people escorting her where she wanted to go, as she seemed to move through the room like a butterfly, speaking to some and ignoring others. I could see the people present crying and I did not understand why.

I honestly felt a pang of panic at this time and I wanted to leave. When I told my friend this, she flatly said that it was too late to leave. Once an Orisha had joined the event, possessing an initiate, it would be considered extremely rude to walk out the door, and there was no way of doing it sneakily as they (the Orishas) were capable of seeing and hearing everything in the room at once, including our thoughts. Now I was truly shitting myself and broke out in a cold sweat, when this woman immediately made eye contact with me and walked straight in my direction. At first I returned her gaze, but the closer she drew, the more unsettling it became and I shifted my eyes down towards my feet.

She came right up to me and grabbed my chin upwards. At this moment I was being yelled at by my friend who was trying to show me how to properly greet The Orisha, but I was frozen to the spot and her grip on my face was not soft. As per the woman who appeared by her side to translate, this was the Orisha Yemaya who was speaking to me (Nudge).  She proceeded to speak about my mother’s accident (I had never shared this with anyone at that point in my life as I was too ashamed). She said that the spirits of my homeland had heard my prayers saving my mother and myself from living out that tragedy, but that I ultimately belonged to HER, and to all of them. I opened my mouth to ask how and my friend shook her head rapidly at me with bulging eyes. Instead I nodded and crossed my arms, bowing my head a little, as I had seen others do. She passed her beautiful embroidered cloth all over my body, and I felt the crackle of energy like electricity as all the hairs on my arms and head rose. Her last words to me were “Don’t worry, you will see.”  I did see.

 

Once an Orisha had joined the event, possessing an initiate, it would be considered extremely rude to walk out the door, and there was no way of doing it sneakily as they (the Orishas) were capable of seeing and hearing everything in the room at once, including our thoughts.”

 

The chain of events to follow were less like nudges and more like blows upside the head!  I chose to share this to show something that few share on Social Media. The magic of these Orisha goes way beyond spells and altars, and deep into ancestral healing and realignment with one’s destiny.  It’s an experiential religion that creates deep, personal growth and change for each person it touches. To those seeking the Orisha, I advise you to really SEEK them, so that you can have these life-changing and miraculous experiences for yourself.

I was recently moved to tears and brought to my knees in front of an Orisha, Babalu Aye (syncretized with Saint Lazarus, Patron of illness and disease) after hearing that a member of my Ile, an elder and sister to me within this practice, was now Cancer Free. This beautiful and humble Orisha not only alerted her to the unknown illness in her body but also CURED her, through his prescriptions and guidance of her elders, in a time span of only several weeks. These stories and experiences are the truth about this religion and practice. This is why practitioners spend so much time, blood, sweat and tears working ceremonies with our spiritual community as well as with seekers needing help and guidance. If your Orisha practice consists only of spells on an altar, or selfies of your beaded necklaces with cigar in mouth, then I am here to tell you that you are missing out on so much more.  There is a whole world out there, just waiting for you to dig a little deeper.

Yemaya N’Agbe O,

Natalie- Omi-Lagua

 

WitchyWomen Wednesday

Screen Shot 2018-10-12 at 12.40.09 PMChris ( aka Ammo ) O’Day The Fitness Witch has been in the occult community for over 20 years. She specializes in mind, body and spirit transformations through fitness, nutrition, energy work and magic. She is initiated in Santeria, Quimbanda and ceremonial magic and a 2nd degree Gardnerian High Priestess. She can be reached through her Fitnesswitch page on instagram or her website www.fitnesswitch.com for in person/online personal training, yoga, reiki, tarot and astrology. She currently resides in Redondo Beach California.


In my 15+ years working in the occult community, the most common things I hear are “How do I get ( insert desire here)?” and “Someone put a voodoo curse on me.”

If you believe you are cursed the first question you need to ask is, “Why?”

Why do you assume a Voodoo practitioner put a curse on you? Do you think you’re that special, my little snowflake? Unless you did something to screw one of us over, most of us have better things to do with our time and talents than to throw our energy at you and, if that’s the case than maybe you should check yourself, and start a meditation practice for some self examinaton and really see how you’re behaving because most magical practitioners I know have better things to do.

My other problem with this statement is that it’s always a Voodoo curse, or Santeria, and it’s one of the most ignorant comments that I hear on a regular basis. Did you ever think that the Wiccan in the muumuu might want to make your life a living hell? A curse can be thrown by ANY magical practitioner of any path. Norse practitioners, ceremonial magicians, satanists, to name a few, can all do damage if they want to. Whether or not you’ve been hexed, your first step to be a witch should be mastering your psychic development, which includes psychic self defense and strengthening your energetic field ( the invisible “egg” shape surrounding your body ) not “I want to do a love spell to force that person who’s never been nice to me to be my boy/girlfriend,” not “I want to summon a Goetic demon etc, etc, so and so fucking forth. STOP! Before you hurt yourself, seriously.

To be a successful practitioner of magic you need to master yourself, not your external circumstances, first.

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When you change, the world around you changes but if you’re only trying to control your environment all you’re doing is AVOIDING YOUR SHIT. Yes, I said your shit. Don’t look at me like that, we’ve all got a lot of things about ourselves that we’d rather not look at. On top of that, we project our issues onto those around us if we are not self-aware. Whether you like it or not, those people that piss you off so much are mirroring something back at you that you’d rather not see in yourself. The fastest and easiest way to strengthen your aura and, not only protect yourself from others but also to protect others from you ( no one wants your crap, keep it to yourself please! ) is what’s called the egg of light visualization.

Stand up with your feet together, arms at your sides and close your eyes. Now imagine that your entire body is encased in an egg extending approximately 9 inches all the way around you, including under your feet and above your head. Visualize a bright blue light filling the egg. Maintain that blue light while seeing a silvery white sphere a foot above your head and slowly allow the silvery white energy from the sphere to enter your egg and the crown chakra at the top of your head. Let it drip down into your throat, chest, arms and fingers, your back, hips, legs and feet to the tip of your toes and feel this light energizing every cell in your body. Hold the egg shape and the silvery energy in your minds eye as long as possible. When it fades know that it is still there and protecting you even though you can no longer see it. By practicing this exercise a few minutes a day you will soon be able to make it appear at a moments notice just by thinking about it. The best part about mastering this practice is that it improves your life in general from increasing your self confidence and vitality but also by being able to pick up on negative people and troubling situations before they occur.

And at the end of the day, if you REALLY need to send someones crap back at the them, just throw their name or a picture inside a mirrored compact with some command, control, and compel oil, wrap tape completely around it, and then throw it somewhere dark and forget about it.

 

WitchyWomen Wednesdays

Screen Shot 2018-10-02 at 2.47.46 PMArielle Ollivier is the Creatrix of Mahina Medicina; a mystery school/sisterhood for Wombyn to feel safe, seen and supported; as they awaken and embody their Divine Feminine Rhythm, Mystery and Sensuality. Arielle is a best selling author and certified intuitive life coach, utilizing her training in ceremony, ritual and magick for transformation. She works closely with flowers and plants, alchemizing essences, tinctures and salves. Arielle invites you to follow her on Instagram @mama.mahina or visit her website: mahinamedicina.com to connect into CommUnity.


Our menstrual blood as We’Moon is sacred.

“It is prophesied that when all women are giving their blood back to the Earth in a sacred way, all the men will come home from war and there will be peace on Earth again.” ~ Hopi Nation

When Matriarchal societies ruled; Women would gather in the Red Tent to bleed. We understood the power of retreating during our flow. Allowing us the space to receive Divine messages through increased intuition.

Practicing rituals to honor the Goddess within.

Unfortunately, in modern Western society this tradition has been dormant. Wombyn have been taught to be discreet and silent about their menstrual cycle – pad or plug it up, as if it’s a plague. This negative connotation disconnects Women from the very fluids that create us.

It is my passion to assist Women in remembering, reconnecting and reclaiming the sacredness of their blood through ritual. Reframing the experience of your period to be one of pleasure, instead of pain.

Below is a ritual invitation for your next cycle;

 

Day 1 of bleeding: Create an altar

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A beautiful visual to honor yourself with.

Create an altar with crystals, feathers, flowers, or whatever feels good to you! Infuse it with love! Say a prayer in gratitude for yourself, Gaia and the Great Goddess.

On my altar are:

Amethyst~Quartz~Spirit Quartz~Rose Quartz

Koa Wood Carved Egg (fertility)

Butterfly wings I’ve collected (transformation)

Rose petals (feminine/love)

Feathers (grace)

 

Day 2 of bleeding: Womb Massage

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Most likely, you hardly touch your stomach with appreciation. Giving yourself a womb massage is a wonderful way to adorn yourself and create a physical connection to your body.

I use a ‘Womb Salve’ and I rub it on my abdomen/womb clockwise. Mugwort, (the main ingredient in the salve) increases circulation of blood. Thus relieving cramps, as it repels stagnation; cold and dampness in the Uterus.

You can use your favorite essential oil too! Clary sage, lavender, rose, and ylang ylang are all supportive oils for moon time.

 

Day 3 of bleeding: Anoint yourself

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This one takes courage, as it’s way beyond comfort for some! It took me about a year of catching my blood before I practiced this.

Transfer blood from menstrual cup into a small bowl or jar. Lovingly say a prayer to yourself, honoring your ability to create life, as you dip your fingers into your blood. Notice any negative thoughts that arise, and ask they be transmuted into love as you take your fingers to your third eye (between the brow) and gently touch them to your forehead to make a heart, star or a crescent moon (as the Avalon priestess would do!).

You can continue to draw on your body, if you feel inclined. I found it liberating to draw on my womb!

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Day 4 of bleeding: Offer it to the plants

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Menstrual blood carries 385 proteins unique ONLY to menstrual blood. It’s incredibly nourishing to the soil, helping plants grow.

(I love to give it to my Mugwort).

Pick a flower, plant or tree and ask it’s permission to give it your menstrual blood.

(Permission in magic & ritual is KEY)

Transfer the blood collected from your cup, tampon or pad into a cup, jar or vase and dilute it with water.

As you pour into soil, say a blessing or prayer.

(use your Intuition, there is no right or wrong)

It can be: what you are releasing in this cycle, and what you wish for the plant to circulate & grow. The beauty of mother nature is her ability to recycle energy, to create anew!

My prayer is these practical and magical rituals serve you to cultivate a deeper connection to the Earth, the Moon and your Womb.

 

 

October Money ‘Scopes by Darla Downing

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Money ‘Scopes by Darla Downing

 

Aries
The bills may seem endless this month, Aries. Every day you may receive a new letter asking for money owed. All this financial stress may lead to exhaustion. However, Venus Retrograde, which starts on the 5th can help to consolidate credit, make payment plans, and offer debt relief. Calling in a financial advisor, or asking for advice from others, on the 12th will help elevate your assets on the 26th. Don’t be a hero, use your fiery energy to get assistance, instead of falling victim to endless bills.

Taurus

While others may be scrambling to keep their livelihood afloat this month, you are mostly concerned with partnerships—deciding what projects and people to invest your money and time in. The 5th causes you to rethink recent endeavors, giving you the option to renegotiate recent contracts. The 26th gives you clarity, as you may possibly renege on a deal. Listen to your intuition this month, if a deal, contract, or situation doesn’t feel right—let it go, move on to the next project right away and don’t waste time on nonsense.
Gemini 
Your intellectual nature often motivates you to logically assess work and financial matters. However, October leaves you feeling lost, as your pristine crystal clear judgement is now foggy. Disappointments at work on the 18th and 19th may force you to feel lost in terms of your career, as feelings of inadequacy come to surface. The 20th and 22nd urge you to take control of financial and career power dynamics. But, you may take a step back, opting to ride the wave before taking any actions, due to your lack of career motivation and uncertainty this month.
Cancer 
Living in a rich girl’s world this October allows you to step out of your shell and spend the fruits of your labor on forbidden pleasures. This is quite exciting for you, dear crab, as you often spend frugally. The 5th and the 26th jumpstart your urge to invest on passion projects. Just be watchful over your investments and contracts with others on the 24th, as a “trusted” party may lead you astray on the 27th.
Leo
Often the life of the party, you tend to overspend quite often. This will cause issues in October, as your generous heart has left you scrambling for cash. As Venus starts to glide backwards on October 5th, you will immediately start to feel the financial pinch. Don’t stress, sweet lion! Use October to revise your monetary plan and create a budget. Even though you may feel financially overwhelmed and your bank account may be underwhelmed, you have the opportunity to enhance your assets with simple planning and foresight, which will allow you to feel more in control of your finances by the 26th.
Virgo
Spending money frivolously with friends this past month sure has put a drain on your once lush bank account. October begins with the heat on your finances, causing you to feel the financial drain on the 3rd and 7th. The 31st brings a new chance to revise your finances, as Venus moves backwards through your house of finances, offering you an opportunity to change the game for November.
Libra
This month takes a bite out of your bank account, Libra. As your planetary ruler, Venus, glides backwards in the financial sector of your chart (starting on October 5th), the next 41 days will prove to be taxing on you, creating much anxiety around money. Be cautious this month! Do not spend your cash on fanciful inclinations and desires. Try to create a penchant for coupon clipping and bargain deals, which will help you reassess your wallet by Halloween, when Venus aligns with your Sun, thus, allowing you to spend your savings on a lovely costume, drinks, and fun with friends.
Scorpio 
October may prove to be challenging for you, Scorpio. Venus kicks off her retrograde journey October 5th, on your Sun, forcing you to make minor financial touch ups. This may come as a surprise to you, after all, you are usually financially responsible. The 9th gives you the opportunity to address your current financial missteps, giving you the chance to clear your current monetary lulls on the 23rd, by bringing in an advisor on the 24th to help you budget.

Sagittarius

Your current financial state may be stressful, as you’re nearing your account minimum. Luckily for you, Sag, your friends step in on October 2nd and offer you financial support. While you may view their kindness as unnecessary, accepting their help on the 4th, will allow you to be at ease on the 5th. Be aware, the loan does come with strings. Try to make proper guidelines and boundaries on the 7th and 9th, by openly discussing a payback plan. If not, the 22nd will prove to be challenging with your peers and your wallet.

Capricorn 

Known for your work horse drive and determination, you often place all your efforts into your career. However, this month, you are swept away by politics, dedicating yourself more as a SJW than a workaholic. Your charisma will be placed on humanitarian efforts, starting on the 5th, as unsavory news hits the airways. The 14th gives you an opportunity to assess your beliefs, creating a platform to express yourself, allowing for you to raise money for your cause on the 18th, 26th, and 31st.
Aquarius
All work and no play can make your loving cup feel under nourished and appreciated. October 5th forces you to dedicate your energy toward work, as major shifts and transformations at the workplace are underway, making you feel like a fish out of water. This may cause frustrations within, as you won’t have time to enjoy the frivolities of life for most of October. Keep the faith, dear Aquarius! The 29th allows you to burn off some steam as work issues clear up, allowing for you to celebrate Halloween with friends with no worries.

Pisces

With your head mostly in the clouds this month, your finances will take a sudden windfall. The 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, and 13th will cause utter confusion regarding your dwindling assets. As you struggle to keep your finances above water, in the first half of the month, try to keep a diary of your spending. The 18th and 19th boost your assets, allowing for financial clarity on the 29th. Expect a monetary gift from your spirits on Halloween, as you are the recipient of a wonderful financial surprise.