Erica Feldmann has a remedy for your chaotic, uninviting and dysfunctional home. Cast a magic spell.
"A spell is a prayer with props," said the author of "HausMagick: Transform Your Home With Witchcraft" (HarperOne, $25.99). "It's a positive intention that you are communicating about something you want to come true in your life."
Her book includes spells for banishing stuff, manifesting your desires and creating balance in your home.
Feldmann is also the owner of HausWitch, an online retailer and shop in – where else? – Salem, Mass.
Her modern witchcraft handbook is a brew of healing crystals, potions for home remedies, feminist spirituality, interior design, tarot card reading and even psychic pet communication.
We asked Feldmann how to make a home magical, her "coven" and what she thinks about skeptics.
Q: Are you a witch?
A: Absolutely. I always claim it as the acronym W.I.T.C.H., for "Woman in Total Control of Herself." It has more to do with reclaiming this figure that has been ostracized and demonized. It has a lot of potential as a radical feminist archetype that harnesses energy that we sorely need in this world. It's about being empowered and believing that you can use inner strength to transform your life and create what you want.
Q: Your book has a little bit of everything – the healing power of crystals, recipes for essential oils and home decor tips. Why did you write it?
A: It seemed like an awesome way to share my ideas and what we do in the shop with a wider audience – and people who have little or no experience with witchcraft in interior design. Treating your home as a form of self-care is having a moment right now.
Q: How did you get interested in the magic of home?
A: I was a pretty anxious kid. I tapped into the energy of the spaces I was in, and it helped ground me and feel more secure. It came to me naturally, and then I branched out to wider interest in interior design and decor. I opened HausWitch to put the message out there that energy can have a profound effect on people and animals.
Q: How can we use modern witchcraft to make our home feel more homey?
A: I explore themes of manifestation, clearing, comfort, protection, harmony and balance.
Close your eyes and think about what you want to feel like when you're home. Clean and declutter so you have the ability to recharge. Having a crystal or two brings in positive energy and makes you feel more secure. Clear out old stale energy by burning herbs and opening windows. Use natural cleaning products with a good scent. Bring in houseplants, a living energy with magical properties.
Q: Crystals are pretty – but how do they make a home feel more harmonious?
A: Crystals form within the Earth, and each one has a unique vibration. The healing power comes from the ability of these vibrations to connect the user to the Earth and harmonize with the healing energies. The popular amethyst has gentle healing traits to make you feel safe. Crystals are also wonderful tools for cleansing, comfort, balance and protection.
Q: Do you belong to a coven?
A: A lot of people have formed a close-knit community around my store and go to our events. It's like going to bingo every week. We don't dance around in the woods. It's a group of women who support each other and do rituals together.
Q: Why do we need to follow the five phases of the moon when doing spells?
A: It's one way of working with nature's energy in our spiritual practices. We all recognize the effect the sun has in our life – so why not the moon?
Q: Why is getting rid of clutter so rejuvenating? Do you agree with Marie Kondo's methods?
A: I encourage people to read Marie Kondo's book. She really understands the way that clutter is dead weight in your psyche – and in your home. It can prevent you from staying present in the moment and in charge of your life.
Q: I have a hard time picking out a sofa, chair or table that works well in my space. What can I do about my indecision?
A: A clarity spell could help. Use a pyrite stone, a candle and a key, and visualize what your ideal furniture would look like. When you find what's right, you'll get that little "ping."
Q: I'd like to mix up your essential-oil floor cleaner that smells like a walk in the woods. Where do I find tree agate essence?
A: The book has an easy recipe for making gem essences.
Q: Do you try to persuade skeptics to believe in these magical practices?
A: I don't really care about converting skeptics. It's not for everyone. But it's good to question belief systems – why don't you believe it will work? That's a whole new book.