How To Put Your Own Magic Into An Object: The Secret of Amulets, Good Luck Charms and Talismans

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He pushed me up against the wall and leaned his face against my neck.

His voice was choked with sobs when he finally spoke:

“There’s nothing I can do to save you.”

His eyes caught something gleaming, something hidden on a red lampshade on the wall, inches from my face.

“Wait.  This amulet.  It’s for protection.   It’s the only thing that might save you.  It will identify you as one of us…..”

He was a wild haired boy witch.

The Amulet: a single sacred heart charm dangling at the end of red thread.

He slipped it around my neck and disappeared down the stairs.

I never saw him again.

The night was a wild immersive theater experience known as Sleep No More.

I was inspired.
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In four days time, I found a little treasure draped across a music box of an outdoor fair.  A strand of cut garnets…rosary beads from the 1930s.  The sunshine made them sparkle to catch my eye.

I took them home with me and did what I always do….made them my own. I brought out my pliers. De-constructed. Re-constructed. When I was finished, the end of the rosary beads held the sacred heart. The heart charm represents wild imaginative theater, performance that pushes boundaries, and gorgeous unknown adventures….the holy trinity of my own religion.

A new magical talisman had found its way to me.  Vintage.  Repurposed by my own hands.  The religion of sacred adventure.  Gifted by the witches of Macbeth.  Not half bad.

This is what it looks like.

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The heart dangles right over mine. It protects me and I use it to draw the best experiences to me. Its purpose is to open the gates of adventure around me.

When I am craving…
nay, fiending adventure,
my fingers will find their way to each cut garnet bead, and I will whisper my own made up prayers, as wild hearted dirty girls are apt to do.

There are no words I can tell you for these prayers…they are not meant for me to tell you. They are hidden in your own heart, your own mouth, and one day the breath will come out and exhale them into being.

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There are many books and sites, all with different stories and scripted words of how to “consecrate” or charge your amulet or talisman. There is always sage involved. And none of the things I’ve come by in form of a book spell have ever moved me.

This is what I did that worked for me…but magic is very Choose-Your-Own-Adventure…

I went down by the river.

I slipped off my shoes and balanced on a tree that spans from one side of the river to another. I lowered myself down and laid down on it in the middle of the river. My face was to the sky and my back was held by the tree above that the rushing river. I dipped my amulet into the river 9 times (9 is my lucky number).

Then I took it in my hands, looked up at the sky and thought of the good things that I wanted it to attract to me. I picked one sentence that summed it up the best and said it on every single bead. I put the necklace on my heart and rubbed my palms together – thinking about what I wanted to create. I rubbed them back and forth, as fast as I could, until I felt like my hands were starting their own fire. Then I grabbed the necklace in my hands and held it tightly – imagining all my best thoughts for adventure. I cupped it in my hands and blew into it – like making a wish. And then I sat up tall and put the amulet around my neck.

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I do things to charge it often. When I am in the middle of an adventure, like the kinds I’ve imagined it to bring to me…I make sure part of that adventure is rubbed off on it. I’ve dipped it in a secret cave in Mexico where water collected after dripping from stalactites, I’ve left it in a hole in a tree in Congo Square in New Orleans overnight, I hid it in the pyramids of Uxmal while the sun rose, I’ve dipped it in the Lake of Brightness on the other side of the world from where I was born, I dipped it in a glass of champagne on the top of the Eiffel Tower on the 11 o’clock hour as the lights twinkled up the structure, and I rolled it in the dirt of a foundation built over a 100 years ago, a space rarely seen and illegal to enter. I like my adventure to be boundless.

I laid it out on the front porch for a moon bath, to soak up the beams.

Oh, La Luna.

And here I sit, its heart over mine, ready to go out and see what adventures shall unfold…

I hope there’s many gorgeous, unexpected paths out there for you today as well.

Tell me about talismans that you have.
What have you done to “charge” them?
How have they found their way into your life?

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The Coolest, Wildest, Weirdest Things To Do In NYC: A Guide for the Freaks

i love new york veronica varlow
I have a full on hot, wild love affair with NYC.

For two years when I first arrived here, I was a tour guide on a double-decker bus,
cruising down the streets in the open air
introducing tourists to my lover.

Here’s some of my favorite must-do, must-see picks of Gotham City:

♥  Make a wish on the Empire State Building and “blow” it out at 2am.

Seeking a beautiful and romantic view of the city lights and the moonlight?
The Empire State Building is open until 2am at the moment!
Head over to this epic Art Deco building at midnight and beat the crowds.
Two years ago on my birthday, I started making my wishes and “blowing out” the lights when they flicker and go out every night at 2am.

new york city skyline

The Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building from my Bedroom Window in Brooklyn.

♥  Visit the Slipper Room (NYC’s oldest Burlesque and Vaudeville House) and take a picture of yourself in the gutter out front (It’s tradition.  I say so.)

The Slipper Room is my burlesque home and where I first saw burlesque and got my start.
It’s home to magicians, aerialists, burlesque performers, comedians, musicians, and fire performers.
Go be enchanted.
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♥  Dine in a secret 1870s style Parisian train car on a rooftop.

Talk about romantic! Le Train Bleu on top of Bloomingdales is one of the best kept secrets in NYC.
Address: 1000 3rd Avenue, NY, NY – enter Bloomingdales and go to 6th floor.
le train bleu

♥  Dance among the club kids and you will never want to go home again.

Kayvon Zand and his partner, Anna Evans are the King and Queen of NYC nightlife. Their parties include Dorian Gray, Sex Fifth Avenue and others. Dance in a world of hot imagination.
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♥ Ride the World Famous Coney Island Cyclone!

Coney Island is an enchanted place – go take in all the sights: ride the Cyclone, go to the world famous Coney Island Freak Show, make out on the Wonder Wheel and GO SEE Lola Star! <3
Lola Star

♥  Have a picnic in Central Park and wander around the sights.

Central Park Must-Sees are:
Alice in Wonderland Statue
Strawberry Fields and the John Lennon “Imagine” Mosaic
Shakespeare Garden
Conservatory Garden (where Burke and I got engaged!)
burke heffner veronica varlow

♥ Rock out at Punk Rock Heavy Metal Karaoke

Punk Rock Heavy Metal Karaoke is a NYC staple. Now held at Fontana’s, you get to scream to your punk rock favorites as a live band plays behind you.
Pretty bad ass.
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♥ Duck down a dark alley and into a real Prohibition Era bar.

The Back Room serves up beverages in tea cups (just in case the joint gets raided). Once a real Speakeasy 85 years ago, this place delivers that old world charm of New York City.
Look for the “Toy Company” sign. Go down alley. You’ll see the secret door.
Once inside, peek behind the bookshelf to another secret room.
amanda palmer neil gaiman veronica varlow burke heffner

♥ Visit one of the most impressive collections of Egyptian artifacts in the world at the Brooklyn Museum

The Brooklyn Museum houses World-Class Egyptian treasures – not to be missed. Go early to avoid crowds and wander the artifacts in silence.
sekhmet

♥ Walk over the Brooklyn Bridge and go grab a slice of pizza at Grimaldi’s.

Do this at Sunset or Sunrise for fantastic views and a gorgeous skyline.  Also, nighttime walks for the city lights are gorgeous.
You can wave to the Statue of Liberty from the bridge!
girl gang

♥ Screw Broadway. Go see incredible immersive theater and be a part of the action.

Check out Sleep No More and Queen of the Night.
I can’t tell you anything else,
but just trust me on this one – you’ve never seen anything like this before.
SleepNoMore

♥ Check out these secret underground party lists for the best things to do whether you are a visitor or a local!

These three lists are your new best friends in New York City.
You’re welcome.
Nonsense NYC
Gemini and Scorpio
The Skint

jeff stark

What’s your favorite things to do in this enchanted city?
Tell me in the comments.
Looking forward to seeing you on a wild New York City adventure!

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